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During the three hours of return hardly a word passed between the pair. 






' Les fables, loin de grandir les homines, .la Eat-ore et "Dien, rapetisent tout.* 

LAMARTDJE (Milton). 

' One who had eyes saw it ; the blind will not understand it. 
A poet, who is a boy, he has perceived it.- he who understands it will 
be his sire's sire.' RIG- VEDA (I. 164, 16). 












6 THE genius of Eastern nations,' says an established 
and respectable authority, ' was, from the earliest 
times, much turned towards invention and the love 
of fiction. The Indians, the Persians, and the 
Arabians, were all famous for their fables. Amongst 
the ancient Greeks we hear of the Ionian and 
Milesian tales, but they have now perished, and, from 
every account that we hear of them, appear to have 
been loose and indelicate.' Similarly, the classical 
dictionaries define ' Milesise fabulse ' to be ' licentious 
themes,' c stories of an amatory or mirthful nature,' 
or ' ludicrous and indecent plays.' M. Deriege seems 
indeed to confound them with the 'Moeurs du 
Temps ' illustrated with artistic gouaches, when he 
says, c une de ees fables milesiennes, rehaussees de 
peintures, que la corruption romaine recherchait 
alors avec une folle ardeur.' 

My friend, Mr. Richard Charnock, F.A.S.L.., more 

viii PREFACE. 

correctly defines Milesian fables to have been origi- 
nally c certain tales or novels, composed by Aristides 
of Miletus ; ' gay in matter and graceful in manner. 
'They were translated into Latin by the historian 
Sisenna, the friend of Atticus, and they had a great 
success at Borne. Plutarch, in his life of Crassus, 
tells us that after the defeat of Carhes (Carrhse?) 
some Milesiacs were found in the baggage of the 
Roman prisoners. The Greek text and the Latin 
translation have long been lost. The only surviving 
fable is the tale of Cupid and Psyche, 1 which Apu- 
leius calls " Milesius sermo," and it makes us deeply 
regret the disappearance of the others.' Besides this 
there are the remains of Apollodorus and Conon, and 
a few traces to be found in Pausanias, Athenseus, and 
the scholiasts. 

I do not, therefore, agree with Blair, with the dic- 
tionaries, or with M. Deriege. Miletus, the great 
maritime city of Asiatic Ionia, was of old the 
meeting place of the East and the West. Here the 
Phoenician trader from the Baltic would meet the 
Hindu wandering to Intra, from Extra, Gangem; 
and the Hyperborean would step on shore side by 
side with the Nubian and the JEthiop. Here was 

1 Metamorphoseon, seu de Asino Aureo, libri XL The well known 
and beautiful episode is in the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth books. 


produced and published for the use of the then civi- 
lised world, the genuine Oriental apologue, myth 
and tale combined, which, by amusing narrative and 
romantic adventure, insinuates a lesson in morals or 
in humanity, of which we often in our days must 
fail to perceive the drift. The book of Apuleius, before 
quoted, is subject to as many discoveries of recondite 
meaning as Rabelais. As regards the licentious- 
ness of the Milesian fables, this sign of semi-civili- 
sation is still inherent in most Eastern books of the 
description which we call ' light literature,' and the 
ancestral tale-teller never collects a larger purse of 
coppers than when he relates the worst of his e aurei.' 
But this looseness, resulting from the separation of 
the sexes, is accidental, not necessary. The follow- 
ing collection will show that it can be dispensed with, 
and that there is such a thing as comparative purity 
in Hindu literature. The author, indeed, almost 
always takes the trouble to marry his hero and his 
heroine, and if he cannot find a priest, he generally 
adopts an exceedingly left-hand and Caledonian but 
legal rite called e gandharbavivaha.' 1 

The work of Apuleius, as ample internal evidence 
shows, is borrowed from the East. The groundwork 

1 This ceremony will be explained in a future page. 


of the tale is the metamorphosis of Lucius of Corinth 
into an ass, and the strange accidents which precede 
his recovering the human form. 

Another old Hindu story-book relates, in the 
popular fairy-book style, the wondrous adventures of 
the hero and demigod, the great Gandharba-Sena. 
That son of Indra, who was also the father of Vikra- 
majit, the subject of this and another collection, 
offended the ruler of the firmament by his fondness 
for a certain nymph, and was doomed to wander over 
earth under the form of a donkey. Through the 
interposition of the gods, however, he was permitted 
to become a man during the hours of darkness, 
thus comparing with the English legend 

Amundeville is lord by day, 
But the monk is lord by night. 

Whilst labouring under this curse, Gaiidharba- 
Sena persuaded the King of Dhara to give him 
a daughter in marriage, but it unfortunately so 
happened that at the wedding hour he was unable 
to show himself in any but asinine shape. After 
bathing, however, he proceeded to the assembly, and, 
hearing songs and music, he resolved to give them a 
specimen of his voice. 

The guests were filled with sorrow that so beauti- 


ful a virgin should be married to a donkey. They 
were afraid to express their feelings to the king, but 
they could not refrain from smiling, covering their 
mouths with their garments. At length some one 
interrupted the general silence and said : 

* king, is this the son of Indra ? You have 
found a fine bridegroom ; you are indeed happy ; 
don't delay the marriage ; delay is improper in doing- 
good ; we never saw so glorious a wedding ! It is 
true that we once heard of a camel being married to 
a jenny-ass ; when the ass, looking up to the camel, 
said, " Bless me, what a bridegroom ! " and the camel, 
hearing the voice of the ass, exclaimed, " Bless me, 
what a musical voice ! " In that wedding, however, 
the bride and the bridegroom were equal ; but in 
this marriage, that such a bride should have such a 
bridegroom is truly wonderful.' 

Other Brahmans then present said : 

6 king, at the marriage hour, in sign of joy the 
sacred shell is blown, but thou hast no need of that ' 
(alluding to the donkey's braying) . 

The women all cried out : 

' O my mother ! l what is this ? at the time of 
marriage to have an ass ! What a miserable thing ! 

1 A common exclamation of sorrow, surprise, fear, and other emotions. 
It is especially used by women. 


What! will he give that angelic girl in wedlock to a 
donkey ? ' 

At length Gandharba-Sena, addressing the king 
in Sanskrit, urged him to perform his promise. He 
reminded his future father-in-law that there is no 
act more meritorious than speaking truth ; that the 
mortal frame is a mere dress, and that wise men 
never estimate the value of a person by his clothes. 
He added that he was in that shape from the curse 
of his sire, and that during the night he had the 
body of a man. Of his being the son of Indra there 
could be no doubt. 

Hearing the donkey thus speak Sanskrit, for it was 
never known that an ass could discourse in that 
classical tongue, the minds of the people were 
changed, and they confessed that, although he had an 
asinine form, he was unquestionably the son of Indra. 
The king, therefore, gave him his daughter in mar- 
riage. 1 The metamorphosis brings with it many 
misfortunes and strange occurrences, and it lasts till 
Fate in the author's hand restores the hero to his 
former shape and honours. 

Gandharba-Sena is a quasi-historical personage, 
who lived in the century preceding the Christian era. 

1 Quoted from View of the Hindoos, by William "Ward, of Serampore 
(vol. i. p. 25). 

PREFACE. xiii 

The story had, therefore, ample time to reach the 
ears of the learned African Apuleius, who was born 
A.D. 130. 

The Baital-Pachisi, or Twenty-five (tales of a) 
Baital l a Vampire or evil spirit which animates dead 
bodies is an old and thoroughly Hindu repertory. 
It is the rude beginning of that fictitious history 
which ripened to the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, 
and which, fostered by the genius of Boccaccio, pro- 
duced the romance of the chivalrous days, and its 
last development, the novel that prose-epic of mo- 
dern Europe. 

Composed in Sanskrit, c the language of the gods,' 
alias the Latin of India, it has been translated into 
all the Prakrit or vernacular and modern dialects of 
the great peninsula. The reason why it has not 
found favour with the Moslems is doubtless the highly 
polytheistic spirit which pervades it ; moreover, the 
Faithful had already a specimen of that style of 
composition. This was the Hitopadesa, or Advice of 
a Friend, which, as a line in its introduction informs 
us, was borrowed from an older book, the Pancha- 
tantra, or Five Chapters. It is a collection of apo- 
logues recited by a learned Brahman, Vishnu Sharma 

1 In Sanskrit, Vetdla-pancha- Vinshati. ' Baital ' is the modern form 
of ' Vtoala.' 


by name, for the edification of his pupils, the sons 
of an Indian Eaja. They have been adapted to or 
translated into a number of languages, notably into 
Pehlvi and Persian, Syriac and Turkish, Greek and 
Latin, Hebrew and Arabic. And as the Fables of 
Pilpay, 1 they are generally known, by name at least, 
to European litterateurs. Voltaire remarks, 2 ' Quand 
on fait reflexion que presque toute la terre a ete 
infatuee de pareils contes, et qu'ils ont fait 1'educa- 
tion du genre humain, on trouve les fables de Pilpay, 
Lokman, d'Esope bien raisonnables.' 

These tales, detached, but strung together by 
artificial means pearls with a thread drawn through 
them are manifest precursors of the Decamerone, 
or Ten Days. A modern Italian critic describes the 
now classical fiction as a collection of one hundred 
of those novels which Boccaccio is believe.d to hav 
read out at the court of Queen Joanna of Naples. 
and which later in life were by him assorted 
together by a most simple and ingenious con- 
trivance. But the great Florentine invented neither 
his stories nor his 'plot,' if we may so call it. 
He wrote in the middle of the fourteenth century 
(1344-8) when the West had borrowed many things 

1 In Arabic, Bidpai el Hakim. 

2 Dictionnaire philosophique, sub v. ' Apocryphes. 


from the East, rhymes l and romance, lutes and drums, 
alchemy and knight-errantry. Many of the 6 Novelle ' 
are, as Orientalists well know, to this day sung and 
recited almost textually by the wandering tale-tellers, 
bards, and rhapsodists of Persia and Central Asia. 

The great kshatriya (soldier) king Yikramaditya, 2 
or Yikramarka, meaning the * Sun of Heroism,' 
plays in India the part of King Arthur, and of Harun 
El Eashid further West. He is a semi-historical 
personage. The son of Gandharba-Sena the donkey 
and the daughter of the King of Dhara, he was pro- 
mised by his father the strength of a thousand male 
elephants. When his sire died, his grandfather, the 
deity Indra, resolved that the babe should not be 
born, upon which his mother stabbed herself. But 
the tragic event duly happening during the ninth 
month, Yikram came into the world by himself, and 
was carried to Indra, who pitied and adopted him, 
and gave him a good education. 

The circumstances of his accession to the throne, 
as will presently appear, are differently told. Once, 
however, made King of Malaya, the modern Malwa, 
a province of Western Upper India, he so distin- 

1 I do not mean that rhymes were not known before the days of El 
Islam, but that the Arabs popularised assonance and consonance iu 
Southern Europe. 

2 ' Vikrama ' means ' valour ' or ' prowess.' 


guished himself that the Hindu fabulists, with their 
usual brave kind of speaking, have made him c bring 
the whole earth under the shadow of one umbrella.' 

The last ruler of the race of Mayura, which reigned 
318 years, was Raja-pal. He reigned 25 years, but 
giving himself up to effeminacy, his country was 
invaded by Shakaditya, a king from the highlands of 
Kumaon. Vikramaditya, in the fourteenth year of 
his reign, pretended to espouse the cause of Raja-pal, 
attacked and destroyed Shakaditya, and ascended the 
throne of Delhi. His capital was Avanti, or Ujjayani, 
the modern Ujjain. It was 13 kos (26 miles) long 
by 18 miles wide, an area of 468 square miles, but a 
trifle in Indian history. He obtained the title of 
Shakari, ' foe of the Shakas, 3 the Sacae or Scy- 
thians, by his victories over that redoubtable race. 
In the Kali Yug, or Iron Age, he stands highest 
amongst the Hindu kings as the patron of learning. 
Mne persons under his patronage, popularly known 
as the ' Nine Gems of Science,' hold in India the 
honourable position of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. 

These learned persons wrote works in the eighteen 
original dialects from which, say the Hindus, all 
the languages of the earth have been derived. 1 

1 Mr. Ward of Serampore is unable to quote the names of more than 
nine out of the eighteen, namely : Sanskrit, Prakrit, Naga, Paisacha, 

PREFACE. xvii 

Dhanwantari enlightened the world upon the sub- 
jects of medicine and incantations. Kshapanaka 
treated the primary elements. Amara-Singha com- 
piled a Sanskrit dictionary and a philosophical 
treatise. Shankubetalabhatta composed comments 
and Ghatakarpara, a poetical work of no great merit. 
The books of Mihira are not mentioned. Varaha 
produced two works on astrology and one on arith- 
metic. And Bararuchi introduced certain improve- 
ments in grammar, commented upon the incantations, 
and wrote a poem in praise of King Madhava. 

But the most celebrated of all the patronised ones 
was Kalidasa. His two dramas, Sakuntala, 1 and 
Vikrarn and Urvasi, 2 have descended to our day; 
besides which he produced a poem on the seasons, 
a work on astronomy, a poetical history of the gods, 
and many other books. 3 

Gandharba, Rakshasa, Ardhamagadi, Apa, and Guhyaka most of 
them being the languages of different orders of fabulous beings. He 
tells us, however, that an account of these dialects may be found in the 
work called Pingala. 

1 Translated by Sir Wm. Jones, 1789 ; and by Professor Williams, 

* Translated by Professor H. H. Wilson. 

8 The time was propitious to savans. Whilst Vikramaditya lived, 
Magha, another king, caused to be written a poem called after his name. 
For each verse he is said to have paid to learned men a gold piece, 
which amounted to a total of 5,280. a large sum in those days, which 
preceded those of Paradise Lost. About the same period, Karnata, a third 
king, was famed for patronising the learned men who rose to honour at 

xviii PREFACE. 

Vikramaditya established the Sambat era, dating 
from A.C. 56. After a long, happy, and glorious 
reign, he lost his life in a war with Shalivahana, 
King of Pratisthana. That monarch also left behind 
him an era called the c Shaka,' beginning with A.D. 78. 
It is employed, even now, by the Hindus in recording 
their births, marriages, and similar occasions. 

King Yikramaditya was succeeded by his infant 
son Yikrama-Sena, and father and son reigned over 
a period of 93 years. At last the latter was sup- 
planted by a devotee named Samudra-pala, who 
entered into his body by miraculous means. The 
usurper reigned 24 years and 2 months, and the 
throne of Delhi continued in the hands of his 
sixteen successors, who reigned 641 years and three 
months. Vikrama-pala, the last, was slain in battle 
by Tilaka-chandra, King of Yaharannah. 1 

It is not pretended that the words of these Hindu 
tales are preserved to the letter. The question about 
the metamorphosis of cats into tigers, for instance, 
proceeded from a Gem of Learning in a university 

Vikram's court. Dhavaka, a poet of nearly the same period, received 
from King Shriharsha the magnificent present of 10,000. for a poem 
called the Ratna-Mala. 

1 Lieut. Wilford supports the theory that there were eight Vikrama- 
dityas, the last of whom established the era. For further particulars, 
the curious reader will consult Lassen's Anthologia, and Professor H. IL 
Wilson's Essay on Vikram, (New) As. Kes. ix. 117. 


much nearer home than Gaur. Similarly the learned 
and still living Mgr. Gaume (Traite du Saint-Esprit, 
p. 81) joins Camerarius in the belief that serpents bite 
women rather than men. And he quotes (p. 192) 
Cornelius a Lapide, who informs us that the leopard 
is the produce of a lioness with a hyaena or a pard. 

The merit of the old stories lies in their sugges- 
tiveness and their general applicability. I have 
ventured to remedy the conciseness of their language, 
and to clothe the skeleton with flesh and blood. 







OF A HIGH-MINDED FAMILY . ' . . . .140 






















BETWEEN THE PAIR . . '.''.. * ' . Frontispiece 




DOG . . . To face 85 








TRAP-DOOR k . . k ' . . To face 174 






AND SPLIT PEAS To face 203 








CRUCIBLES To face 228 






THE KIRATAS To face 277 


THERE HE FOUND THE JOGl . . . . . . .310 


TAILPIECE .... ,319 



THE sage Bhavabhuti Eastern teller of these tales 
after making his initiatory and propitiatory conge 
to Ganesha, Lord of Incepts, informs the reader that 
this book is a string of fine pearls to be hung round 
the neck of human intelligence ; a fragrant flower to 
be borne on the turban of mental wisdom ; a jewel of 
pure gold, which becomes the brow of all supreme 
minds ; and a handful of powdered rubies, whose 
tonic effects will appear palpably upon the mental 
digestion of every patient. Finally, that by aid of 
the lessons inculcated in the following pages, man 
will pass happily through this world into the state 
of absorption, where fables will be no longer re- 

He then teaches us how Vikramaditya the Brave 
became King of Ujjayani. 

Some nineteen centuries ago, the renowned city of 


Ujjayani witnessed the birth of a prince to whom 
was given the gigantic name Yikramaditya. Even 
the .Sanskrit-speaking people, who are not usually 
pressed fotf tiise,- shortened it to ' Vikram,' and a 
r little , further. Went it would infallibly have been 
docked down to * Vik.' 

Vikrani was the second son of an old king Gan- 
dharba-Sena, concerning whom little favourable has 
reached posterity, except that he became an ass, 
married four queens, and had by them six sons, each 
of whom was more learned and powerful than the 
other. It so happened that in course of time the 
father died. Thereupon his eldest heir, who was 
known as Shank, succeeded to the carpet of Eajaship, 
and was instantly murdered by Vikram, his e scorpion,' 
the hero of the following pages. 1 

By this act of vigour and manly decision, which 
all younger-brother princes should devoutly imitate, 
Vikram having obtained the title of Bir, or the Brave, 

1 History tells ixs another tale. The god Indra and the King of 
Dhara gave the kingdom to Bhartari-hari, another son of Grandharba- 
Sena, by a handmaiden. For some time, the brothers lived together ; 
but presently they quarrelled. Vikram being dismissed from court, 
wandered from place to place in abject poverty, and at one time hired 
himself as a servant to a merchant living in G-uzerat. At length, Bhar- 
tari-hari, disgusted with the world on account of the infidelity of his 
wife, to whom he was ardently attached, became a religious devotee, 
and left the kingdom to its fate. In the course of his travels, Vikram 
came to Ujjayani, and finding it without a head, assumed the sovereignty. 
He reigned with great splendour, conquering by his arms Utkala, Vanga, 
Kuch-behar, Gruzerat, Somnat, Delhi, and other places ; until, in his 
turn, he was conquered and slain by Shalivaban. 


made himself Raja. He began to rule well, and 
the gods so favoured him that day by day his do- 
minions increased. At length he became lord of all 
India, and having firmly established his government, 
he instituted an era an uncommon feat for a mere 
monarch, especially when hereditary. 

The steps, 1 says the historian, which he took to 
arrive at that pinnacle of grandeur, were these : 

The old King calling his two grandsons Bhartari- 
hari and Yikramaditya, gave them good counsel 
respecting their future learning. They were told to 
master everything, a certain way not to succeed in 
anything. They were diligently to learn grammar, 
the scriptures, and all the religious sciences. They 
were to become familiar with military tactics, inter- 
national law, and music, the riding of horses and ele- 
phants especially the latter the driving of chariots, 
and the use of the broadsword, the bow, and the 
mogdars or Indian clubs. They were ordered to be 
skilful in all kinds of games, in leaping and running, 
in besieging forts, in forming and breaking bodies of 
troops ; they were to endeavour to excel in every 
princely quality, to be cunning in ascertaining the 
power of an enemy, how to make war, to perform 
journeys, to sit in the presence of the nobles, to sepa- 
rate the different sides of a question, to form alliances, 
to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, 

1 The words are found, says Mr. Ward, in the Hindu History com- 
piled by Mrityungaya. 


to assign proper punishments to the wicked, to ex- 
ercise authority with perfect justice, and to be liberal. 
The boys were then sent to school, and were placed 
under the care of excellent teachers, where they 
became truly famous. Whilst under pupilage, the 
eldest was allowed all the power necessary to obtain 
a knowledge of royal affairs, and he was not invested 
with the regal office till in these preparatory steps 
he had given full satisfaction to his subjects, who 
expressed high approval of his conduct. 

The two brothers often conversed on the duties of 
kings, when the great Yikramaditya gave the great 
Bhartari-hari the following valuable advice : l 

' As Indra, during the four rainy months, fills the 
earth with water, so a king should replenish his 
treasury with money. As Surya the sun, in warming 
the earth eight months, does not scorch it, so a king, 
in drawing revenues from his people, ought not to 
oppress them. As Yayu, the wind, surrounds and 
fills everything, so the king by his officers and spies 
should become acquainted with the affairs and cir- 
cumstances of his whole people. As Yama judges 
men without partiality or prejudice, and punishes 

1 These duties of kings are thus laid down in the Eajtarangini. It 
is evident, as Professor H. H. Wilson says, that the royal status 
was by no means a sinecure. But the rules are evidently the closet 
work of some pedantic, dogmatic Brahman, teaching kingcraft to kings. 
He directs his instructions, not to subordinate judges, but to the Eaja 
as the chief magistrate, and through him to all appointed for the ad- 
ministration of his justice. 


the guilty, so should a king chastise, without favour, 
all offenders. As Varuna, the regent of water, binds 
with his pasha or divine noose his enemies, so let 
a king bind every malefactor safely in prison. As 
Chandra, 1 the moon, by his cheering light gives 
pleasure to all, thus should a king, by gifts and gene- 
rosity, make his people happy. And as Prithwi, 
the earth, sustains all alike, so should a king feel 
an equal affection and forbearance towards every 

Become a monarch, Vikram meditated deeply upon 
what is said of monarchs : ' A king is fire and air ; 
he is both sun and moon ; he is the god of criminal 
justice ; he is the genius of wealth ; he is the regent 
of water ; he is the lord of the firmament ; he is a 
powerful divinity who appears in human shape.' 
He reflected with some satisfaction that the scrip- 
tures had made him absolute, had left the lives and 
properties of all his subjects to his arbitrary will, 
had pronounced him to be an incarnate deity, and 
had threatened to punish with death even ideas de- 
rogatory to his honour. 

He punctually observed all the ordinances laid 
down by the author of the Niti, or institutes of 
government. His night and day were divided into 
sixteen pahars or portions, each one hour and a half, 
and they were disposed of as follows : 

Before dawn Yikram was awakened by a servant 

1 Lunus, not Luna. 


appointed to this special duty. He swallowed a 
thing allowed only to a khshatriya or warrior a 
Mithridatic every morning on the saliva, 1 and he 
made the cooks taste every dish before he ate of it. 
As soon as he had risen, the pages in waiting 
repeated his splendid qualities, and as he left his 
sleeping-room in full dress, several Brahmans re- 
hearsed the praises of the gods. Presently he bathed, 
worshipped his guardian deity, again heard hymns, 
drank a little water, and saw alms distributed to the 
poor. He ended this watch by auditing his accounts. 
Next, entering his court, he placed himself amidst 
the assembly. He was always armed when he re- 
ceived strangers, and he caused even women to be 
searched for concealed weapons. He was surrounded 
by so many spies and so artful, that, of a thousand, 
110 two ever told the same tale. At the levee, on his 
right sat his relations, the Brahmans, and men of 
distinguished birth. The other castes were on the 
left, and close to him stood the ministers and those 
whom he delighted to consult. Afar in front gathered 
the bards chanting the praises of the gods and of the 
king; also the charioteers, elephanteers, horsemen, 
and soldiers of valour. Amongst the learned men 
in those assemblies there were ever some who were 
well instructed in all the scriptures, and others who 
had studied in one particular school of philosophy, 
and were acquainted only with the works on divine 

1 That is to say, ' upon an empty stomach.' 


wisdom, or with those on justice, civil and criminal, 
on the arts, mineralogy or the practice of physic ; 
also persons cunning in all kinds of customs ; riding 
masters, dancing-masters, teachers of good behaviour, 
examiners, tasters, mimics, mountebanks, and others, 
who all attended the court and awaited the king's 
commands. He here pronounced judgment in suits 
of appeal. His poets wrote about him : 

The lord of lone splendour an instant suspends 
His course at mid-noon, ere he westward descends ; 
And brief are the moments our young monarch knows, 
Devoted to pleasure or paid to repose ! 

Before the second sandhya, 1 or noon, about the 
beginning of the third watch, he recited the names 
of the gods, bathed, and broke his fast in his private 
room ; then rising from food, he was amused by 
singers and dancing girls. The labours of the day 
now became lighter. After eating he retired, re- 
peating the name of his guardian deity, visited the 
temples, saluted the gods, conversed with the priests, 
and proceeded to receive and to distribute presents. 
Fifthly, he discussed political questions with his 
ministers and councillors. 

On the announcement of the herald that it was 
the sixth watch about 2 or 3 P.M. Yikram allowed 
himself to follow his own inclinations, to regulate 
his family, and to transact business of a private and 
personal nature. 

1 There are three sandhyas amongst the Hindus morning, midday, 
and sunset ; and all three are times for prayer. 


After gaining strength by rest, he proceeded to 
review his troops, examining the men, saluting the 
officers, and holding military councils. At sunset 
he bathed a third time and performed the five sacra- 
ments of listening to a prelection of the Yeda ; 
making oblations to the manes ; sacrificing to Fire 
in honour of the deities ; giving rice to dumb 
creatures ; and receiving guests with due ceremonies. 
He spent the evening amidst a select company of 
wise, learned, and pious men, conversing on dif- 
ferent subjects, and reviewing the business of the 

The night was distributed with equal care. 
During the first portion Yikram received the reports 
which his spies and envoys, dressed in every disguise, 
brought to him about his enemies. Against the 
latter he ceased not to use the five arts, namely 
dividing the kingdom, bribes, mischief-making, ne- 
gotiations, and brute-force especially preferring the 
two first and the last. His forethought and prudence 
taught him to regard all his nearest neighbours and 
their allies as hostile. The powers beyond those 
natural enemies he considered friendly because they 
were the foes of his foes. And all the remoter 
nations he looked upon as neutrals, in a transitional 
or provisional state as it were, till they became 
either his neighbours' neighbours, or his own neigh- 
bours, that is to say, his friends or his foes. 

This important duty finished he supped, and at 


the end of the third watch he retired to sleep, which 
was not allowed to last beyond three hours. In the 
sixth watch he arose and purified himself. The 
seventh was devoted to holding private consultations 
with his ministers, and to furnishing the officers of 
government with requisite instructions. The eighth 
or last watch was spent with the Purohita or priest, 
and with Brahmans, hailing the dawn with its ap- 
propriate rites ; he then bathed, made the customary 
offerings, and prayed in some unfrequented place 
near pure water. 

And throughout these occupations he bore in mind 
the duty of kings, namely to pursue every object till 
it be accomplished ; to succour all dependants, and 
hospitably to receive guests, however numerous. He 
was generous to his subjects respecting taxes, and 
kind of speech; yet he was inexorable as death in 
the punishment of offences. He rarely hunted, and he 
visited his pleasure gardens only on stated days. He 
acted in his own dominions with justice; he chastised 
foreign foes with rigour; he behaved generously to 
Brahmans, and he avoided favouritism amongst his 
friends. In war he never slew a suppliant, a spectator, 
a person asleep or undressed, or anyone that showed 
fear. Whatever country he conquered, offerings were 
presented to its gods, and effects and money were 
given to the reverends. But what benefited him most 
was his attention to the creature comforts of the Nine 
Gems of Science : those eminent men ate and drank 


themselves into fits of enthusiasm, and ended by 
immortalising their patron's name. 

Become Yikram the Great he established his court 
at a delightful and beautiful location rich in the best 
of water. The country was difficult of access, and 
artificially made incapable of supporting a host of 
invaderSj but four great roads met near the city. 
The capital was surrounded with durable ramparts, 
having gates of defence, and near it was a mountain 
fortress, under the especial charge of a great captain. 

The metropolis was well garrisoned and provisioned, 
and it surrounded the royal palace, a noble building 
without as well as within. Grandeur seemed em- 
bodied there, and Prosperity had made it her own. 
The nearer ground, viewed from the terraces and 
pleasure pavilions, was a lovely mingling of rock and 
mountain, plain and valley, field and fallow, crystal 
lake and glittering stream. The banks of the winding 
Lavana were fringed with meads whose herbage, 
pearly with morning dew, afforded choicest grazing 
for the sacred cow, and were dotted with perfumed 
clumps of Bo-trees, tamarinds, and holy figs : in one 
place Vikram planted 100,000 in a single orchard and 
gave them to his spiritual advisers. The river valley 
separated the stream from a belt of forest growth 
which extended to a hill range, dark with impervious 
jungle, and cleared here and there for the cultivator's 
village. Behind it, rose another subrange, wooded 
with a lower bush and already blue with air, whilst in 


the background towered range upon range, here rising 
abruptly into points and peaks, there ramp- shaped or 
wall-formed, with sheer descents, and all of light 
azure hue adorned with glories of silver and gold. 

After reigning for some years, Yikram the Brave 
found himself, at the age of thirty, a staid and sober 
middle-aged man. He had several sons daughters 
are naught in India by his several wives, and he 
had some paternal affection for nearly all except, of 
course, for his eldest son, a youth who seemed to 
conduct himself as though he had a claim to the 
succession. In fact, the king seemed to have taken 
up his abode for life at Ujjayani, when suddenly he 
bethought himself, ' I must visit those countries of 
whose names I am ever hearing.' The fact is, he had 
determined to spy out in disguise the lands of all his 
foes, and to find the best means of bringing against 
them his formidable army. 

* * * * * * 

We now learn how Bhartari Raja becomes Regent 
of Ujjayani. 

Having thus resolved, Vikram the Brave gave the 
government into the charge of a younger brother, 
Bhartari Raja, and in the garb of a religious mendi- 
cant, accompanied by Dharma Dhwaj, his second son, 
a youth bordering on the age of puberty, he began to 
travel from city to city, and from forest to forest. 

The Regent was of a settled melancholic turn of 
mind, having lost in early youth a very peculiar 


wife. One da} r , whilst out hunting, he happened 
to pass a funeral pyre, upon which a Brahman's 
widow had just become Sati (a holy woman) with the 
greatest fortitude. On his return home he related 
the adventure to Sita Rani, his spouse, and she at 
once made reply that virtuous women die with their 
husbands, killed by the fire of grief, not by the flames 
of the pile . To prove her truth the prince, after an 
affectionate farewell, rode forth to the chase, and 
presently sent back the suite with his robes torn and 
stained, to report his accidental death. Sita perished 
upon the spot, and the widower remained inconsolable 
for a time. 

He led the dullest of lives, and took to himself 
sundry spouses, all equally distinguished for birth, 
beauty, and modesty. Like his brother, he performed 
all the proper devoirs of a Raja, rising before the day 
to finish his ablutions, to worship the gods, and to do 
due obeisance to the Brahmans. He then ascended 
the throne, to judge his people according to the 
Shastra, carefully keeping in subjection lust, anger, 
avarice, folly, drunkenness, and pride; preserving 
himself from being seduced by the love of gaming and 
of the chase ; restraining his desire for dancing, sing- 
ing, and playing on musical instruments, and refrain- 
ing from sleep during daytime, from wine, from 
molesting men of worth, from dice, from putting 
human beings to death by artful means, from useless 
travelling, and from holding any one guilty without 


the commission of a crime. His levees were in a hall 
decently splendid, and he was distinguished only by 
an umbrella of peacock's feathers ; he received all 
complainants, petitioners, and presenters of offences 
with kind looks and soft words. He united to himself 
the seven or eight wise councillors, and the sober and 
virtuous secretary that formed the high cabinet of his 
royal brother, and they met in some secret lonely spot, 
as a mountain, a terrace, a bower or a forest, whence 
women, parrots, and other talkative birds were care- 
fully excluded. 

And at the end of this useful and somewhat labo- 
rious day, he retired to his private apartments, and, 
after listening to spiritual songs and to soft music, he 
fell asleep. Sometimes he would summon his brother's 
' Nine Gems of Science,' and give ear to their learned 
discourses. But it was observed that the viceroy re- 
served this exercise for nights when he was troubled 
with insomnia the words of wisdom being to him an 
infallible remedy for that disorder. 

Thus passed onwards his youth, doing nothing that 
it could desire, forbidden all pleasures because they 
were unprincely, and working in the palace harder 
than in the pauper's hut. Having, however, for- 
tunately for himself, few predilections and no ima- 
gination, he began to pride himself upon being a 
philosopher. Much business from an early age had 
dulled his wits, which were never of the most bril- 
liant ; and in the steadily increasing torpidity of his 


spirit, he traced the germs of that quietude .which 
forms the highest happiness of man in this storm of 
matter called the world. He therefore allowed him- 
self but one friend of his soul. He retained, I have 
said, his brother's seven or eight ministers ; he was 
constant in attendance upon the Brahman priests 
who officiated at the palace, and who kept the im- 
pious from touching sacred property ; and he was 
courteous to the commander-in-chief who directed 
his warriors, to the officers of justice who inflicted 
punishment upon offenders, and to the lords of 
towns, varying in number from one to a thousand. 
But he placed an intimate of his own in the high 
position of confidential councillor, the ambassador to 
regulate war and peace. 

Mahi-pala was a person of noble birth, endowed 
with shining abilities, popular, dexterous in business, 
acquainted with foreign parts, famed for eloquence 
and intrepidity, and as Menu the Lawgiver advises, 
remarkably handsome. 

Bhartari Raja, as I have said, became a quietist 
and a philosopher. But Kama, 1 the bright god who 
exerts his sway over the three worlds, heaven and earth 
and grewsome Hades, 2 had marked out the prince 
once more as the victim of his blossom-tipped shafts 
and his flowery bow. How, indeed, could he hope 
to escape the doom which has fallen equally upon 

1 The Hindu Cupid. 

2 Patala, the regions beneath the earth. 


Bramha the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and dread- 
ful Shiva the Three-eyed Destroyer? l 

By reason of her exceeding beauty, her face was 
a full moon shining in the clearest sky ; her hair was 
the purple cloud of autumn when, gravid with rain, 
it hangs low over earth ; and her complexion mocked 
the pale waxen hue of the large-flowered jasmine. 
Her eyes were those of the timid antelope ; her lips 
were red as those of the pomegranate's bud, and when 
they opened, from them distilled a fountain of am- 
brosia. Her neck was like a pigeon's ; her hand the 
pink lining of the conch-shell ; her waist a leopard's ; 
her feet the softest lotuses. In a word, a model of 
grace and loveliness was Dangalah Rani, Raja Bhar- 
tari's last and youngest wife. 

The warrior laid down his arms before her; the 
politician spoke out every secret in her presence. The 
religious prince would have slaughtered a cow that 
sole unforgivable sin to save one of her eyelashes : 
the absolute king would not drink a cup of water 
without her permission ; the staid philosopher, the 
sober quietist, to win from her the shadow of a 
smile, would have danced before her like a singing- 
girl. So desperately enamoured became Bhartari 

It is written, however, that love, alas ! breeds not 
love ; and so it happened to the Regent. The warmth 
of his affection, instead of animating his wife, annoyed 

1 The Hindu Triad. 


her ; his protestations wearied her ; his vows gave 
her the headache ; and his caresses were a colic that 
made her blood run cold. Of course, the prince 
perceived nothing, being lost in wonder and admira- 
tion of the beauty's coyness and coquetry. And as 
women must give away their hearts, whether asked 
or not, so the lovely Dangalah Eani lost no time 
in lavishing all the passion of her idle soul upon 
Mahi-pala, the handsome ambassador of peace and 
war. By this means the three were happy and were 
content jd ; their felicity, however, being built on a 
rotten foundation, could not long endure. It soon 
ended in the following extraordinary way. 

In the city of Ujjayani, 1 within sight of the palace, 
dwelt a Brahman and his wife, who, being old and 
poor, and having nothing else to do, had applied 
themselves to the practice of austere devotion. 2 
They fasted and refrained from drink, they stood on 
their heads, and they held their arms for weeks in 
the air ; they prayed till their knees were like pads ; 
they disciplined themselves with scourges of wire ; 
and they walked about unclad in the cold season, and 
in summer they sat within a circle of naming wood, 
till they became the envy and admiration of all the 

1 Or Avanti, also called Padmavati. It is the first meridian of the 
Hindus, who found their longitude by observation of lunar eclipses, 
calculated for it and Lanka, or Ceylon. The clepsydra was used for 
taking time. 

2 In the original only the husband ' practised austere devotion.' For 
the benefit of those amongst whom the ' pious wife ' is an institution, I 
have extended the privilege. 


plebeian gods that inhabit the lower heavens. In 
fine, as a reward for their exceeding piety, the vene- 
rable pair received at the hands of a celestial messen- 
ger an apple of the tree Kalpavriksha a fruit which 
has the virtue of conferring eternal life upon him that 
tastes it. 

Scarcely had the god disappeared, when the Brah- 
man, opening his toothless mouth, prepared to eat 
the fruit of immortality. Then his wife addressed 
him in these words, shedding copious tears the 
while : 

' To die, man, is a passing pain ; to be poor is an 
interminable anguish. Surely our present lot is the 
penalty of some great crime committed by us in a 
past state of being. 1 Callest thou this state life? 
Better we die at once, and so escape the woes of the 

Hearing these words, the Brahman sat undecided, 
with open jaws and eyes fixed upon the apple. 
Presently he found tongue : ' I have accepted the 
fruit, and have brought it here ; but having heard thy 
speech, my intellect hath wasted away ; now I will do 
whatever thou pointest out.' 

The wife resumed her discourse, which had been 
interrupted by a more than usually copious flow of 
tears. e Moreover, O husband, we are old, and what 

1 A Moslem would say, ' This is our fate.' A Hindu refers at once 
to metempsychosis, as naturally as a modern Swedenborgian to 



are the enjoyments of the stricken in years ? Truly 
quoth the poet 

Die loved in youth, not hated in age. 

If that fruit could have restored thy dimmed eyes, 
and deaf ears, and blunted taste, and warmth of love, 
I had not spoken to thee thus.' 

After which the Brahman threw away the apple, to 
the great joy of his wife, who felt a natural indigna- 
tion at the prospect of seeing her goodman become 
immortal, whilst she still remained subject to the laws 
of death ; but she concealed this motive in the depths 
of her thought, enlarging, as women are apt to do, 
upon everything but the truth. And she spoke with 
such success, that the priest was about to toss in his 
rage the heavenly fruit into the fire, reproaching the 
gods as if by sending it they had done him an injury. 
Then the wife snatched it out of his hand, and telling 
him that it was too precious to be wasted, bade him 
arise and gird his loins and wend him to the Regent's 
palace, and offer him the fruit as King Yikram was 
absent with a right reverend brahmanical benedic- 
tion. She concluded with impressing upon her un- 
worldly husband the necessity of requiring a large 
sum of money .as a return for his inestimable gift. 
' By this means,' she said, 'thou mayst promote thy 
present and future welfare.' 1 

1 In Europe, money buys this world, and delivers you from the 
pains of purgatory ; amongst the Hindus, it furthermore opens the 
gate of heaven. 


Then the Brahman went forth, and standing in the 
presence of the Eaja, told him all things touching the 
fruit, concluding with, ' O, mighty prince ! vouchsafe 
to accept this tribute, and bestow wealth upon me. 
I shall be nappy in your living long ! ' 

Bhartari Eaja led the supplicant into an inner 
strong-room, where stood heaps of the finest gold- 
dust, and bade him carry away all that he could; 
this the priest did, not forgetting to fill even his 
eloquent and toothless mouth with the precious 
metal. Having dismissed the devotee groaning 
under the burden, the Regent entered the apartments 
of his wives, and, having summoned the beautiful 
Queen Dangalah Rani, gave her the fruit, and said, 
' Eat this, light of my eyes ! This fruit joy of my 
heart ! will make thee everlastingly young and 

The pretty queen, placing both hands upon her 
husband's bosom, kissed his eyes and lips, and 
sweetly smiling on his face for great is the guile of 
women whispered, * Eat it thyself, dear one, or at 
least share it with me ; for what is life and what is 
youth without the presence of those we love ? ' But 
the Raja, whose heart was melted by these unusual 
words, put her away tenderly, and, having explained 
that the fruit would serve for only one person, 

Whereupon the pretty queen, sweetly smiling as 
before, slipped the precious present into her pocket. 
c 2 


When the Regent was transacting business in the 
hall of audience she sent for the ambassador who 
regulated war and peace, and presented him with the 
apple in a manner at least as tender as that with 
which it had been offered to her. 

Then the ambassador, after slipping the fruit into 
his pocket also, retired from the presence of the 
pretty queen, and meeting Lakha, one of the maids 
of honour, explained to her its wonderful power, and 
gave it to her as a token of his love. But the maid 
of honour, being an ambitious girl, determined that 
the fruit was a fit present to set before the Regent in 
the absence of the King. Bhartari Raja accepted it, 
bestowed on her great wealth, and dismissed her with 
many thanks. 

He then took up the apple and looked at it with 
eyes brimful of tears, for he knew the whole extent 
of his misfortune. His heart ached, he felt a loath- 
ing for the world, and he said with sighs and 
groans : l 

' Of what value are these delusions of wealth and 
affection, whose sweetness endures for a moment 
and becomes eternal bitterness? Love is like the 
drunkard's cup : delicious is the first drink, palling 
are the draughts that succeed it, and most distasteful 
are the dregs. What is life but a restless vision 

1 This part of the introduction will remind the reader of the two 
royal brothers and their false wives in the introduction to the Arabian 
Nights. The fate of Bhartari Eaja, however, is historical. 


of imaginary pleasures and of real pains, from whi'ch 
the only waking is the terrible day of death ? The 
affection of this world is of no use, since, in conse- 
quence of it, we fall at last into hell. For which 
reason it is best to practise the austerities of religion, 
that the Deity may bestow upon us hereafter that 
happiness which he refuses to us here ! ' 

Thus did Bhartari Raja determine to abandon the 
world. But before setting out for the forest, he 
could not refrain from seeing the queen once more, 
so hot was the flame which Kama had kindled in his 
heart. He therefore went to the apartments of his 
women, and having caused Dangalah Rani to be 
summoned, he asked her what had become of the 
fruit which he had given to her. She answered that, 
according to his command, she had eaten it. Upon 
which the Regent showed her the apple, and she 
beholding it stood aghast, unable to make any reply. 
The Raja gave careful orders for her beheading ; 
he then went out, and having had the fruit washed, 
ate it. He quitted the throne to be a jogi, or reli- 
gious mendicant, and without communicating with 
any one departed into the jungle. There he became 
such a devotee that death had no power over him, 
and he is wandering still. But some say that he 
was duly absorbed into the essence of the Deity. 
x- * * * * * 

We are next told how the valiant Vikram returned 
to his own country. 


Thus Yikram's throne remained empty. When 
the news reached King Indra, Regent of the Lower 
Firmament and Protector of Earthly Moiiarchs, he 
sent Prithwi Pala, a fierce giant, 1 to defend the city 
of Ujjayani till such time as its lawful master might 
reappear, and the guardian used to keep watch and 
ward night and day over his trust. 

In less than a year the valorous Raja Vikrani 
became thoroughly tired of wandering about the 
woods half dressed : now suffering from famine, then 
exposed to the attacks of wild beasts, and at all 
times very ill at ease. He reflected also that he was 
not doing his duty to his wives and children ; that 
the heir- apparent would probably make the worst 
use of the parental absence; and finally, that his 
subjects, deprived of his fatherly care, had been left 
in the hands of a man who, for aught he could say, 
was not worthy of the high trust. He had also spied 
out all the weak points of friend and foe. Whilst 
these and other equally weighty considerations were 
hanging about the Raja's mind, he heard a rumour 

1 In the original, ' Div ' a supernatural being, god, or demon. This 
part of the plot is variously told. According to some, Raja Vikram was 
surprised, when entering the city, to see a grand procession at the house 
of a potter, and a boy being carried off on an elephant, to the violent 
grief of his parents. The king inquired the reason of their sorrow, and 
was told that the wicked Div that guarded the city was in the habit of 
eating a citizen per diem. Whereupon the valorous Raja caused the 
boy to dismount ; took his place ; entered the palace ; and, when pre- 
sented as food for the demon, displayed his pugilistic powers in a way 
to excite the monster's admiration. 


of the state of things spread abroad ; that Bhartari, 
the regent, having abdicated his throne, had gone 
away into the forest. Then quoth Vikram to his 
son, ' We have ended our wayfarings, now let us turn 
our steps homewards ! ' 

The gong was striking the mysterious hour of 
midnight as the king and the young prince ap- 
proached the principal gate. And they were push- 
ing through it when a monstrous figure rose up 
before them and called out with a fearful voice, 
4 Who are ye, and where are ye going ? Stand and 
deliver your names ! ' 

6 1 am Raja Vikram,' rejoined the king, half 
choked with rage, f and I am come to mine own city. 
Who art thou that darest to stop or stay me ? * 

c That question is easily answered,' cried Prithwi 
Pala the giant, in his roaring voice ; 6 the gods have 
sent me to protect Ujjayani. If thou be really Raja 
Yikram, prove thyself a man: first fight with me, 
and then return to thine own.' 

The warrior king cried ' Sadhu ! ' wanting nothing 
better. He girt his girdle tight round his loins, 
summoned his opponent into the empty space beyond 
the gate, told him to stand on guard, and presently 
began to devise some means of closing with or run- 
ning in upon him. The giant's fists were large as 
water melons, and his knotted arms whistled through 
the air like falling trees, threatening fatal blows. 
Besides which the Raja's head scarcely reached the 


giant's stomach., and the latter, each time he struck 
out, whooped so abominably loud, that no human 
nerves could remain unshaken. 

At last Yikram's good luck prevailed. The giant's 
left foot slipped, and the hero, seizing his antago- 
nist's other leg, began to trip him up. At the same 
moment the young prince, hastening to his parent's 
assistance, jumped viciously upon the enemy's naked 
toes. By their united exertions they brought him 
to the ground, when the son sat down upon his 
stomach, making himself as weighty as he well 
could, whilst the father, climbing up to the monster's 
throat, placed himself astride upon it, and pressing 
both thumbs upon his eyes, threatened to blind him 
if he would not yield. 

Then the giant, modifying the bellow of his voice, 
cried out 

6 Raja, thou hast overthrown me, and I grant 
thee thy life.' 

6 Surely thou art mad, monster,' replied the king, 
in jeering tone, half laughing, half angry. 'To 
whom grantest thou life ? If I desire it I can kill 
thee ; how, then, dost thou talk about granting me 
my life ? ' 

6 Yikram of Ujjayani,' said the giant, 'be not too 
proud ! I will save thee from a nearly impending 
death. Only hearken to the tale which I have to 
tell thee, and use thy judgment, and act upon it. 


So slialt thou rule the world free from care, and live 
without danger, and die happily.' 

'Proceed, 5 quoth the Raja, after a moment's 
thought, dismounting from the giant's throat, and 
beginning to listen with all his ears. 

The giant raised himself from the ground, and 
when in a sit'ting posture, began in solemn tones to 
speak as follows : 

' In short, the history of the matter is, that three 
men were born in this same city of Ujjayani, in the 
same lunar mansion, in the same division of the 
great circle described upon the ecliptic, and in the 
same period of time. You, the first, were born in 
the house of a king. The second was an oilman's 
son, who was slain by the third, a jogi, or anchorite, 
who kills all he can, wafting the sweet scent of 
human sacrifice to the nostrils of Durga, goddess 
of destruction. Moreover, the holy man, after com- 
passing the death of the oilman's son, has suspended 
him head downwards from a mimosa tree in a ceme- 
tery. He is now anxiously plotting thy destruction. 
He hath murdered his own child ' 

' And how came an anchorite to have a child ? ' 
asked Raja Vikram, incredulously. 

< That is what I am about to tell thee,' replied the 
giant. 'In the good days of thy generous father, 
Gandharba-Sena, as the court was taking its pleasure 
in the forest, they saw a devotee, or rather a devotee's 


head, protruding from a hole in the ground. The 
white ants had surrounded his body with a case of 
earth, and had made their home upon his skin. All 
kinds of insects and small animals crawled up and 
down the face, yet not a muscle moved. Wasps 
had hung their nests to its temples, and scorpions 
wandered in and out of the matted and clotted hair; 
yet the hermit felt them not. He spoke to no one ; 
he received no gifts ; and had it not been for the 
opening of his nostrils, as he continually inhaled the 
pungent smoke of a thorn fire, man would have 
deemed him dead. Such were his religious aus- 

Thy father marvelled much at the sight, and 
rode home in profound thought. That evening, as 
he sat in the hall of audience, he could speak of 
nothing but the devotee ; and his curiosity soon rose 
to such a pitch, that he proclaimed about the city a 
reward of one hundred gold pieces to any one that 
could bring to court this anchorite of his own free 

6 Shortly afterwards, Vasantasena, a singing and 
dancing girl more celebrated for wit and beauty 
than for sagesse or discretion, appeared before thy 
sire, and offered for the petty inducement of a gold 
bangle to bring the anchorite into the palace, carry- 
ing a baby on his shoulder. 

6 The king hearing her speak was astonished, 
gave her a betel leaf in token that he held her to 


her promise, and permitted her to depart, which she 
did with a laugh of triumph. 

' Vasantasena went directly to the jungle, where 
she found the pious man faint with thirst, shrivelled 
with hunger, and half dead with heat and cold. She 
cautiously put out the fire. Then, having prepared 
a confection, she approached from behind and rubbed 
upon his lips a little of the sweetmeat, which he 
licked up with great relish. Thereupon she made 
more and gave it to him. After two days of this 
generous diet he gained some strength, and on the 
third, as he felt a finger upon his mouth, he opened 
his eyes and said, " Why hast thou come here ? " 

' The girl, who had her story in readiness, replied : 
" I am the daughter of a deity, and have practised 
religious observances in the heavenly regions. I 
have now come into this forest ! " And the devotee, 
who began to think how much more pleasant is such 
society than solitude, asked her where her hut was, 
and requested to be led there. 

6 Then Vasantasena, having unearthed the holy 
man and compelled him to purify himself, led him to 
the abode which she had caused to be built for 
herself in the wood. She explained its luxuries by 
the nature of her vow, which bound her to indulge 
in costly apparel, in food with six flavours, and in 
every kind of indulgence. 1 In course of time the 

1 In India, there is still a monastic order the pleasant duty of whose 
members is to enjoy themselves as much as possible. It has been much 


hermit learned to follow her example ; he gave up 
inhaling smoke, and he began to eat and drink as a 
daily occupation. 

' At length Kama began to trouble him. Briefly 
the saint and saintess were made man and wife, by 
the simple form of matrimony called the Gandharba- 
vivaha, 1 and about ten months afterwards a son was 
born to them. Thus the anchorite came to have a 

6 Remained Yasantasena's last feat. Some months 
passed : then she said to the devotee her husband, 
" Oh saint ! let us now, having finished our devotions, 
perform a pilgrimage to some sacred place, that all 
the sins of our bodies may be washed away, after 
which we will die and depart into everlasting happi- 
ness." Cajoled by these speeches, the hermit mounted 
his child upon his shoulder and followed her where 
she went directly into Raja Gaiidharba-Sena's 

the same in Europe. ' Kepresentez-vous le couvent de 1'Escurial on du 
Mont Cassin, cm les cenobites ont toutes sortes de commodites, n6ces- 
saires, utiles, delectables, superflues, surabondantes, puisqu'ils ont les 
cent cinquante mille, les quatre cent mille, les cinq cent mille ecus de 
rente ; et jugez si monsieur 1'abbe a de quoi laisser dormir la meri- 
dienne a ceux qui voudront.' Saint Augustin, de F Ouvrage des Moifies, 
by Le Camus, Bishop of Belley, quoted by Voltaire, Diet. phiL, sub v. 
' Apocalypse.' 

1 This form of matrimony was recognised by the ancient Hindus, and 
is frequent in books. It is a kind of Scotch wedding ultra- Caledonian 
taking place by mutual consent, without any form or ceremony. The 
Gandharbas are heavenly minstrels of Indra's court, who are supposed 
to be witnesses. 


' When the king and the ministers and the officers 
and the courtiers saw Vasantasena, and her spouse 
carrying the baby, they recognised her from afar. 
The Raja exclaimed, " Lo ! this is the very singing 
girl who went forth to bring back the devotee." 
And all replied : "0 great monarch ! thou speakest 
truly ; this is the very same woman. And be pleased 
to observe that whatever things she, having asked 
leave to undertake, went forth to do, all these she 
hath done ! " Then gathering around her they asked 
her all manner of questions, as if the whole matter 
had been the lightest and the most laughable thing 
in the world. 

6 But the anchorite, having heard the speeches 
of the king and his courtiers, thought to himself, 
" They have done this for the purpose of taking 
away the fruits of my penance." Cursing them all 
with terrible curses, and taking up his child, he left 
the hall. Thence he went to the forest, slaughtered 
the innocent, and began to practise austerities with 
a view to revenge that hour, and, having slain his 
child, he will attempt thy life. His prayers have 
been heard. In the first place they deprived thee of 
thy father. Secondly, they cast enmity between 
thee and thy brother, thus dooming him to an 
untimely end. Thirdly, they are now working thy 
ruin. The anchorite's design is to offer up a king 
and a king's son to his patroness Durga, and by 


virtue of such devotional act lie will obtain the sove- 
reignty of the whole world ! 

6 But I have promised, Yikram, to save thee, if 
such be the will of Fortune, from impending destruc- 
tion. Therefore hearken well unto my words. Dis- 
trust them that dwell amongst the dead, and remem- 
ber that it is lawful and right to strike off his head 
that would slay thee. So shalt thou rule the universal 
earth, and leave behind thee an immortal name ! ' 

Suddenly Prithwi Pala, the giant, ceased speak- 
ing, and disappeared. Vikrain and his son then 
passed through the city gates, feeling their limbs to 
be certain that no bones were broken, and thinking 
over the scene that had occurred. 


We now are informed how the valiant King Vikram 
met with the Vampire. 

It was the spring season when the Eaja returned, 
and the Holi festival ! caused dancing and singing in 
every house. Ujjayani was extraordinarily happy 
and joyful at the return of her ruler, who joined in 
her gladness with all his kingly heart. The faces 
and dresses of the public were red and yellow with 
gulal and abir, perfumed powders, 2 which were 
sprinkled upon one another in token of merriment. 
Musicians deafened the citizens' ears, dancing girls 

1 The Hindu Saturnalia. 

2 The powders are of wheaten flour, mixed with wild-ginger root, 
sappan-wood, and other ingredients. Sometimes the stuff is thrown in 


performed till ready to faint with fatigue, the manu- 
facturers of comfits made their fortunes, and the 
Nine Gems of Science celebrated the auspicious day 
with the most long-winded odes. The royal hero, 
decked in regal attire, and attended by many thou- 
sands of state palanquins glittering with their various 
ornaments, and escorted by a suite of a hundred 
kingly personages, with their martial array of the 
four hosts, of cavalry, elephants, chariots, and infan- 
try, and accompanied by Amazon girls, lovely as the 
suite of the gods, himself a personification of majesty, 
bearing the white parasol of dominion, with a golden 
staff and tassels, began once more to reign. 

After the first pleasures of return, the king applied 
himself unremittingly to good government and to 
eradicating the abuses which had crept into the 
administration during the period of his wanderings. 

Mindful of the wise saying, * if the Eaja did not 
punish the guilty, the stronger would roast the 
weaker like a fish on the spit,' he began the work of 
reform with an iron hand. He confiscated the pro- 
perty of a councillor who had the reputation of 
taking bribes ; he branded the forehead of a sudra 
or servile man whose breath smelt of ardent spirits, 
and a goldsmith having been detected in fraud he 
ordered him to be cut to shreds with razors as the 
law in its mercy directs. In the case of a notorious 
evil speaker he opened the back of his head and 
had his tongue drawn through the wound. A few 


murderers lie burned alive on iron beds, praying the 
while that Yishnu might have mercy upon their 
souls. His spies were ordered, as the shastra called 
c The Prince ' advises, to mix with robbers and thieves 
with a view of leading them into situations where 
they might most easily be entrapped, and once or 
twice when the fellows were too wary, he seized them 
and their relations and impaled them all, thereby 
conclusively proving, without any mistake, that he 
was king of earth. 

With the sex feminine he was equally severe. A 
woman convicted of having poisoned an elderly hus- 
band in order to marry a younger man was thrown 
to the dogs, which speedily devoured her. He 
punished simple infidelity by cutting off the offender's 
nose an admirable practice, which is not only a 
severe penalty to the culprit, but also a standing 
warning to others, and an efficient preventative to 
any recurrence of the fault. Faithlessness combined 
with bad example or brazenfacedness was further 
treated by being led in solemn procession through the 
bazar mounted on a diminutive and crop-eared donkey, 
with the face turned towards the crupper. After 
a few such examples the women of Ujjayani became 
almost modest ; it is the fault of man when they are 
not tolerably well behaved in one point at least. 

Every day as Yikram sat upon the judgment-seat, 
trying causes and punishing offences, he narrowly 
observed the speech, the gestures, and the coun- 


tenances of the various criminals and litigants and 
their witnesses. Ever suspecting women, as I have 
said, and holding them to be the root of all evil, he 
never failed when some sin or crime more horrible 
than usual came before him, to ask the accused, ' Who 
is she ? ' and the suddenness of the question often 
elicited the truth by accident. For there can be 
nothing thoroughly and entirely bad unless a woman 
is at the bottom of it ; and knowing this, Raja 
Yikram made certain notable hits under the most 
improbable circumstances, which had almost given 
him a reputation for omniscience. But this is easily 
explained : a man intent upon squaring the circle 
will see squares in circles wherever he looks, and 
sometimes he will find them. 

In disputed cases of money claims, the king ad- 
hered strictly to established practice, and consulted 
persons learned in the law. He seldom decided a 
cause on his own judgment, and he showed great 
temper and patience in bearing with rough language 
from irritated plaintiffs and defendants, from the 
infirm, and from old men beyond eighty. That 
humble petitioners might not be baulked in having 
access to the ' fountain of justice,' he caused an iron 
box to be suspended by a chain from the windows of 
his sleeping apartment. Every morning he ordered 
the box to be opened before him, and listened to 
all the placets at full length. Even in this simple 


process lie displayed abundant cautiousness. For, 
having forgotten what little of the humanities he 
had mastered in his youth, he would hand the paper 
to a secretary whose business it was to read it out 
before him ; after which operation the man of letters 
was sent into an inner room, and the petition was 
placed in the hands of a second scribe. Once it so 
happened by the bungling of the deceitful kayasths 
(clerks) that an important difference was found to 
occur in the same sheet. So upon strict inquiry one 
secretary lost his ears and the other his right hand. 
After this petitions were rarely if ever falsified. 

The Eaja Vikrain also lost no time in attacking 
the cities and towns and villages of his enemies, but 
the people rose to a man against him, and hewing 
his army to pieces with their weapons, vanquished 
him. This took place so often that he despaired of 
bringing all the earth under the shadow of his um- 

At length on one occasion when near a village he 
listened to a conversation of the inhabitants. A 
woman having baked some cakes was giving them to 
her child, who leaving the edges would eat only the 
middle. On his asking for another cake, she cried, 
6 This boy's way is like Vikram's in his attempt to 
conquer the world ! ' On his enquiring ' Mother, 
why, what am I doing ; and what has Yikram done ? ' 
t Thou, my boy,' she replied, ' throwing away the 
outside of the cake eatest the middle only. Vikram 


also in his ambition, without subduing the frontiers 
before attacking the towns, invades the heart of the 
country and lays it waste. On that account, both 
the townspeople and others rising, close upon him 
from the frontiers to the centre, and destroy his army. 
That is his folly. 5 

Vikram took notice of the woman's words. He 
strengthened his army and resumed his attack on the 
provinces and cities, beginning with the frontiers, 
reducing the outer towns and stationing troops in the 
intervals. Thus he proceeded regularly with his in- 
vasions. After a respite, adopting the same system 
and marshalling huge armies, he reduced in regular 
course each kingdom and province till he became 
monarch of the whole world. 

It so happened that one day as Yikram the Brave 
sat upon the judgment seat, a young merchant, by 
name Mai Deo, who had lately arrived at Ujjayani 
with loaded camels and elephants, and with the re- 
putation of immense wealth, entered the palace court. 
Having been received with extreme condescension, 
he gave into the king's hand a fruit which he had 
brought in his own, and then spreading a prayer 
carpet on the floor he sat down. Presently, after a 
quarter of an hour, he arose and went away. When 
he had gone the king reflected in his mind : ' Under 
this disguise, perhaps, is the very man of whom the 
giant spoke.' Suspecting this, he did not eat the 
fruit, but calling the master of the household he gave 

D 2 


the present to him, ordering him to keep it in a very 
careful manner. The young merchant, however, 
continued every day to court the honour of an inter- 
view, each time presenting a similar gift. 

By chance one morning Raja Yikram went, at- 
tended by his ministers, to see his stables. At this 
time the young merchant also arrived there, and in 
the usual manner placed a fruit in the royal hand. 
As the king was thoughtfully tossing it in'the air, it 
accidentally fell from his fingers to the ground. Then 
the monkey, who was tethered amongst the horses to 
draw calamities from their heads, 1 snatched it up and 
tore it to pieces. Whereupon a ruby of such size and 
water came forth that the king and his ministers, 
beholding its brilliancy, gave vent to expressions of 

Quoth Yikram to the young merchant severely 
for his suspicious were now thoroughly roused ' Why 
hast thou given to us all this wealth ? ' 

c O great king,' replied Mai Deo, demurely, * it is 
written in the scriptures (shastra) " Of Ceremony " 
that " we must not go empty-handed into the presence 
of the following persons, namely, Eajas, spiritual 
teachers, judges, young maidens, and old women 
whose daughters we would marry." But why, 

1 The Persian proverb is ' Bala e tavilah bar sar i maitnun : ' ' The 
woes of the stable be on the monkey's head ! ' In some Moslem 
countries a hog acts prophylactic. Hence probably Mungo Park's 
troublesome pig at Ludamar. 


Vikram, dost thou speak of one ruby only, since in 
each of the fruits which I have laid at thy feet there 
is a similar jewel ? ' 

Having heard this speech, the king said to the 
master of his household, ' Bring all the fruits which 
I have entrusted to thee.' The treasurer, on receiv- 
ing the royal command, immediately brought them, 
and having split them, there was found in each one a 
ruby, one and all equally perfect in size and water. 
Raja Vikram beholding such treasures was exces- 
sively pleased. Having sent for a lapidary, he ordered 
him to examine the rubies, saying, * We cannot take 
anything with us out of this world. Virtue is a noble 
quality to possess here below so tell justly what is 
the value of each of these gems.' l 

To so moral a speech the lapidary replied, ' Maha- 
raja ! 2 thou hast said truly ; whoever possesses 
virtue, possesses everything ; virtue indeed accom- 
panies us always, and is of advantage in both worlds. 
Hear, O great king ! each gem is perfect in colour, 
quality and beauty. If I were to say that the value 
of each was ten million millions of suvarnas (gold 

1 So the moribund father of the 'babes in the wood' lectures his 
wicked brother, their guardian : 

' To God and you I recommend 
My children deare this day: 
But little while, be sure, we hare 
Within this world to stay.' 

But to appeal to the moral sense of a goldsmith ! 

* Maha (great) raja (king) : common address even to those who are 
not royal. 


pieces), even then them couldst not understand its 
real worth. In fact, each ruby would buy one of the 
seven regions into which the earth is divided.' 

The king on hearing this was delighted, although 
his suspicions were not satisfied; and, having be- 
stowed a robe of honour upon the lapidary, dismissed 
him. Thereon, taking the young merchant's hand, 
he led him into the palace, seated him upon his own 
carpet in presence of the court, and began to say, 
( My entire kingdom is not worth one of these rubies : 
tell me how it is that thou who buyest and sellest 
hast given me such and so many pearls ? ' 

Mai Deo replied : ' great king, the speaking of 
matters like the following in public is not right ; these 
things prayers, spells, drugs, good qualities, house- 
hold affairs, the eating of forbidden food, and the 
evil we may have heard of our neighbour should 
not be discussed in full assembly. Privately I will 
disclose to thee my wishes. This is the way of the 
world ; when an affair comes to six ears, it does not 
remain secret ; if a matter is confided to four ears it 
may escape further hearing ; and if to two ears even 
Bramha the Creator does not know it ; how then can 
any rumour of it come to man ? ' 

Having heard this speech, Eaja Vikram took Mai 
Deo aside, and 'began to ask him, saying, ' O gene- 
rous man ! you have given me so many rubies, and 
even for a single day you have not eaten food with 


me ; I am exceedingly ashamed, tell me what you 

* Raja/ said the young merchant, ' I am not Mai 
Deo, but Shanta-Shil, 1 a devotee. I am about to 
perform spells, incantations and magical rites on the 
banks of the river Godavari, in a large smashana, a 
cemetery where bodies are burned. By this means 
the Eight Powers of Nature will all become mine. 
This thing I ask of you as alms, that you and the 
young prince Dharma Dhwaj will pass one night 
with me, doing my bidding. By you remaining near 
me my incantations will be successful.' 

The valiant Vikram nearly started from his seat at 
the word cemetery, but, like a ruler of men, he re- 
strained his face from expressing his feelings, and he 
presently replied, ( Good, we will come, tell us on what 

' You are to come to me,' said the devotee, < armed, 
but without followers, on the Monday evening the 
14th of the dark half of the month Bhadra.' 2 The 
Raja said : ( Do you go your ways, we will certainly 
come.' In this manner, having received a promise 
from the king, and having taken leave, the devotee 
returned to his house : thence he repaired to the 
temple, and having made preparations, and taken all 

1 The name means, ' Quietistic Disposition.' 

2 August. In the solar-lunar year of the Hindu the months are 
divided into fortnights light and dark. 


the necessary things, he went back into the cemetery 
and sat down to his ceremonies. 

The valiant Yikram, on the other hand, retired 
into an inner apartment, to consult his own judgment 
about an adventure with which, for fear of ridicule, 
he was unwilling to acquaint even the most trust- 
worthy of his ministers. 

In due time came the evening moon's day, the 14th 
of the dark half of the month Bhadra. As the short 
twilight fell gloomily on earth, the warrior king, ac- 
companied by his son, with turband-ends tied under 
their chins, and with trusty blades tucked under their 
arms ready for foes, human, bestial, or devilish, 
slipped out unseen through the palace wicket, and 
took the road leading to the cemetery on the river 

Dark and drear was the night. Urged by the 
furious blast of the lingering winter-rains, masses of 
bistre-coloured cloud, like the forms of unwieldy 
beasts, rolled heavily over the firmament plain. 
Whenever the crescent of the young moon, rising 
from an horizon sable as the sad Tamala's hue, 1 
glanced upon the wayfarers, it was no brighter than 
the fine tip of an elephant's tusk protruding from the 
muddy wave. A heavy storm was impending; big 
drops fell in showers from, the forest trees as they 
groaned under the blast, and beneath the gloomy 
avenue the clayey ground gleamed ghastly white. 

1 A flower, whose name frequently occurs in Sanskrit poetry. 


As the Raja and his son advanced, a faint ray of 
light, like the line of pure gold streaking the dark 
surface of the touchstone, caught their eyes, and 
directed their footsteps towards the cemetery. 

When Yikrani came upon the open space on the 
river bank where corpses were burned, he hesitated 
for a moment to tread its impure ground. But seeing 
his son undismayed, he advanced boldly, trampling 
upon remnants of bones, and only covering his mouth 
with his turband-end. 

Presently, at the further extremity of the smashana 
or burning ground, appeared a group. By the lurid 
flames that flared and flickered round the half-extin- 
guished funeral pyres, with remnants of their dreadful 
loads, Raja Vikram and Dharma Dhwaj could note 
the several features of the ill-omened spot. There 
was an outer circle of hideous bestial forms ; tigers 
were roaring, and elephants were trumpeting ; wolves, 
whose foul hairy coats blazed with sparks of bluish 
phosphoric light, were devouring the remnants of 
human bodies ; foxes, jackals, and hyenas were dis- 
puting over their prey ; whilst bears were chewing 
the livers of children. The space within was peopled 
by a multitude of fiends. There were the subtle 
bodies of men that had escaped their grosser frames 
prowlingabout the charnel ground, where their corpses 
had been reduced to ashes, or hovering in the air, 
waiting till the new bodies which they were to ani- 
mate were made ready for their reception. The 


spirits of those that had been foully slain wandered 
about with gashed limbs ; and skeletons, whose 
mouldy bones were held together by bits of blackened 
sinew, followed them as the murderer does his victim. 
Malignant witches with shrivelled skins, horrid eyes 
and distorted forms, crawled and crouched over the 
earth ; whilst spectres and goblins now stood motion- 
less, and tall as lofty palm trees ; then, as if in fits, 
leaped, danced, and tumbled before their evocator. 
The air was filled with shrill and strident cries, with 
the fitful moaning of the storm-wind, with the hoot- 
ing of the ' owl, with the jackal's long wild cry, 
and with the hoarse gurgling of the swollen river, 
from whose banks the earth-slip thundered in its 

In the midst of all, close to the fire which lit up 
his evil countenance, sat Shanta-Shil, the jogi, with 
the banner that denoted his calling and his magic 
staff planted in the ground behind him. He was 
clad in the ochre-coloured loin-wrap of his class ; 
from his head streamed long tangled locks of hair 
like horsehair ; his black body was striped with lines 
of chalk, and a girdle of thigh bones encircled his 
waist. His face was smeared with ashes from a 
funeral pyre, and his eyes, fixed as those of a statue, 
gleamed from this mask with an infernal light of hate. 
His cheeks were shaven, and he had not forgotten to 
draw the horizontal sectarian mark. But this was of 
blood; and Vikram, as he drew near, saw that he was 



playing upon a human skull with two shank bones, 
making music for the horrid revelry. 

Now Raja Vikram, as has been shown by his 
encounter with Indra's watchman, was a bold prince, 
and he was cautious as he was brave. The sight of a 
human being in the midst of these terrors raised his 

He was playing upon a human skull with two shank bones. 

mettle ; he determined to prove himself a hero, and 
feeling that the critical moment was now come, he 
hoped to rid himself and his house for ever of the 
family curse that hovered over them. 

For a moment he thought of the giant's words, 
' And remember that it is lawful and right to strike 
off his head that would slay thee.' A stroke with his 


good sword might at once and effectually put an end 
to the danger. But then he remembered that he had 
passed his royal word to do the devotee's bidding that 
night. Besides, he felt assured that the hour for 
action had not yet sounded. 

These reflections having passed through his mind 
with the rapid course of a star that has lost its 
honours, 1 Yikram courteously saluted Shanta-Shil. 
The jogi briefly replied, Come sit down, both of ye.' 
The father and son took their places, by no means 
surprised or frightened by the devil dances before 
and around them. Presently the valiant Raja re- 
minded the devotee that he was come to perform, his 
promise, and lastly asked, ' What commands are there 
for us ? ' 

6 The jogi replied, ( king, since you have come, 
just perform one piece of business. About two kos 2 
hence, in a southerly direction, there is another 
place where dead bodies are burned; and in that 
place is a mimosa tree, on which a body is hanging. 
Bring it to me immediately.' 

Raja Vikram took his son's hand, unwilling to 
leave him in such company ; and, catching up a fire- 
brand, went rapidly away in the proper direction. 
He was now certain that Shanta-Shil was the an- 
chorite who, enraged by his father, had resolved his 

1 The stars being men's souls raised to the sky for a time proportioned 
to their virtuous deeds on earth. 

2 A measure of length, each two miles. 



destruction ; and his uppermost thought was a firm 
resolve * to breakfast upon his enemy, ere his enemy 
could dine upon him.' He muttered this old saying 
as he went, whilst the tom-tom-ing of the anchorite 
upon the skull resounded in his ears, and the devil- 
crowd, which had held its peace during his meeting 
with Shanta-Shil, broke out again in an infernal 
din of whoops and screams, yells and laughter. 

The darkness of the night was frightful, the gloom 
deepened till it was hardly possible to walk. The 
clouds opened their fountains, raining so that you 
would say they could never rain again. Lightning 
blazed forth with more than the light of day, and 
the roar of the thunder caused the earth to shake. 
Baleful gleams tipped the black cones of the trees 
and fitfully scampered like fireflies over the waste. 
Unclean goblins dogged the travellers and threw 
themselves upon the ground in their path and ob- 
structed them in a thousand different ways. Huge 
snakes, whose mouths distilled blood and black 
venom, kept clinging around their legs in the 
roughest part of the road, till they were persuaded 
to loose their hold either by the sword or by reciting 
a spell. In fact there were so many horrors and 
such a tumult and noise that even a brave man 
would have faltered, yet the king kept on his way. 

At length having passed over, somehow or other, a 
very difficult road, the Raja arrived at the smashana, 
or burning place pointed out by the jogi. Suddenly 


lie sighted the tree where from root to top every 
branch and leaf was in a blaze of crimson flame. 
And when he, still dauntless, advanced towards it, a 
clamour continued to be raised, and voices kept 
crying, ' Kill them ! kill them ! seize them ! seize 
them ! take care that they do not get away ! let them 
scorch themselves to cinders ! let them suffer the 
pains of Patala.' 1 

Far from being terrified by this state of things 
the valiant Raja increased in boldness, seeing a 
prospect of an end to his adventure. Approaching 
the tree he felt that the fire did not burn him, and 
so he sat there for a while to observe the body, 
which hung, head downwards, from a branch a 
little above him. 

Its eyes, which were wide open, were of a greenish- 
brown, and never twinkled ; its hair also was brown, 2 
and brown was its face three several shades which, 
notwithstanding, approached one another in an un- 
pleasant way, as in an over-dried cocoa-nut. Its 
body was thin and ribbed like a skeleton or a bamboo 
framework, and as it held on to a bough, like a 
flying fox, 3 by the toe-tips, its drawn muscles stood 

1 The warm region below. 

2 Hindus admire only glossy black hair ; the ' bonny brown hair ' 
loved by our ballads is assigned by them to low-caste men, witches, and 

3 A large kind of bat ; a popular and silly Anglo-Indian name. It 
almost justified the irate Scotchman in calling ' prodigious leears ' those 
who told him in India that foxes flew and trees were tapped for toddy. 


out as if they were ropes of coir. Blood it appeared 
to have none, or there would have been a decided 
determination of that curious juice to the head ; and 
as the Eaja handled its skin, it felt icy cold and 
clammy as might a snake. The only sign of life 
was the whisking of a ragged little tail much re- 
sembling a goat's. 

Judging from these signs the brave king at once 
determined the creature to be a Baital a Yampire. 
For a short time he was puzzled to reconcile the 
appearance with the words of the giant, who in- 
formed him that the anchorite had hung the oilman's 
son to a tree. Ifut soon he explained to himself the 
difficulty, remembering the exceeding cunning of 
jogis and other reverend men, and determining that 
his enemy, the better to deceive him, had doubtless 
altered the shape and form of the young oilman's 

With this idea, Yikram was pleased, saying, < My 
trouble has been productive of fruit.' Remained 
the task of carrying the Yampire to Shanta-Shil 
the devotee. Having taken his sword, the Raja 
fearlessly climbed the tree, and ordering his son to 
stand away from below, clutched the Yampire's hair 
with one hand, and with the other struck such a 
blow of the sword, that the bough was cut and the 
thing fell heavily upon the ground. Immediately 
on falling it gnashed its teeth and began to utter a 
loud wailing cry like the screams of an infant in 


pain. Yikram having heard the sound of its lamen- 
tations, was pleased, and began to say to himself, 
* This devil must be alive.' Then nimbly sliding 
down the trunk, he made a captive of the body, and 
asked 'Who art thou?' 

He once more seized the Baital's hair. 

Scarcely, however, had the words passed the royal 
lips, when the Yampire slipped through the fingers 
like a worm, and uttering a loud shout of laughter, 
rose in the air with its legs uppermost, and as before 
suspended itself by its toes to another bough. And 


there it swung to and fro, moved by the violence of 
its cachinnation. 

' Decidedly this is the young oilman ! ' exclaimed 
the Raja, after he had stood for a minute or two 
with mouth open, gazing upwards and wondering 
what he should do next. Presently he directed 
Dharma Dhwaj not to lose an instant in laying 
hands upon the thing when it next might touch the 
ground, and then he again swarmed up the tree. 
Having reached his former position, he once more 
seized the Baital's hair, and with all the force of his 
arms for he was beginning to feel really angry he 
tore it from its hold and dashed it to the ground, 
saying, ( wretch, tell me who thou art ? ' 

Then, as before, the Raja slid deftly down the 
trunk, and hurried to the aid of his son, who, in 
obedience to orders, had fixed his grasp upon the 
Vampire's neck. Then too, as before, the Vampire, 
laughing aloud, slipped through their fingers and 
returned to its dangling-place. 

To fail twice was too much for Raja Vikram's 
temper, which was right kingly and somewhat hot. 
This time he bade his son strike the Baital's head 
with his sword. Then, more like a wounded bear of 
Himalaya than a prince who had established an era, 
he hurried up the tree, and directed a furious blow 
with his sabre at the Vampire's lean and calfless legs. 
The violence of the stroke made its toes loose their 
hold of the bough, and when it touched the ground, 


Dliarma Dhwaj's blade fell heavily upon its matted 
brown hair. But the blows appeared to have lighted 
on iron- wood to judge at least from the behaviour 
of the Baital, who no sooner heard the question, c O 
wretch, who art thou?' than it returned in loud 
glee and merriment to its old position. 

Five mortal times did Eaja Vikram repeat this 
profitless labour. But so far from losing heart, he 
quite entered into the spirit of the adventure. In- 
deed he would have continued climbing up that tree 
and taking that corpse under his arm he found hia 
sword useless and bringing it down, and asking it 
who it was, and seeing it slip through his fingers, 
six times sixty times, or till the end of the fourth 
and present age, 1 had such extreme resolution been 

However, it was not necessary. On the seventh 
time of falling, the Baital, instead of eluding its cap- 
turer's grasp, allowed itself to be seized, merely 
remarking that ' even the gods cannot resist a 
thoroughly obstinate man.' 2 And seeing that the 

1 The Hindus, like the European classics and other ancient peoples, 
reckon four ages : TheSatya Yug, or Golden Age, numbered 1,728,000 
years; the second, or Treta Yug, comprised 1,296,000; the Dwapar 
Yug had 864.000 ; and the present, the Kali Yug, has shrunk to 
832,000 years. 

2 Especially alluding to prayer. On this point, Southey justly re- 
marks (Preface to Curse of Kehama) : ' In the, religion of the Hindoos 
there is one remarkable peculiarity. Prayers, penances, and sacrifices 
are supposed to possess an inherent and actual value, in one degree de- 
pending upon the disposition or motive of the person who performs 


stranger, for the better protection of his prize, had 
stripped off his waistcloth and was making it into a 
bag, the Vampire thought proper to seek the most 
favourable conditions for himself, and asked his 
conqueror who he was, and what he was about to 

' Yile wretch,' replied the breathless hero, ' know 
me to be Yikram the Great, Eaja of Ujjayani, and I 
bear thee to a man who is amusing himself by 
drumming to devils on a skull. 5 

6 Remember the old say ing, mighty Yikram ! ' said 
the Baital, with a sneer, ' that many a tongue has 
cut many a throat. I have yielded to thy resolution 
and I am about to accompany thee, bound to thy 
back like a beggar's wallet. But hearken to my 
words, ere we set out upon the way. I am of a 
loquacious disposition, and it is well nigh an hour's 
walk between this tree and the place where thy friend 
sits, favouring his friends with the peculiar music 
which they love. Therefore, I shall try to distract 
my thoughts, which otherwise might not be of the 
most pleasing nature, by means of sprightly tales and 
profitable reflections. Sages and men of sense spend 

them. They are drafts upon heaven for which the gods cannot refuse 
payment. The worst men, bent upon the worst designs, have in this 
manner obtained power which has made them formidable to the supreme 
deities themselves.' Moreover, the Hindoo gods hear the prayers of 
those who desire the evil of others. Hence when a rich man becomes 
poor, his friends say, ' See how sharp are men's teeth ! ' and, ' He is 
ruined because others could not bear to see his happiness ! ' 
E 2 


their days in the delights of light and heavy litera- 
ture, whereas dolts and fools waste time in sleep 
and idleness. And I purpose to ask thee a number 
of questions, concerning which we will, if it seems fit 
to thee, make this covenant : 

( Whenever thou answerest me, either compelled 
by Fate or entrapped by my cunning into so doing, 
or thereby gratifying thy vanity and conceit, I leave 
thee and return to my favourite place and position in 
the siras-tree, but when thou shalt remain silent, 
confused, and at a loss to reply, either through 
humility or thereby confessing thine ignorance, and 
impotence, and want of comprehension, then will I 
allow thee, of mine own free will, to place me before 
thine employer. Perhaps I should not say so; it 
may sound like bribing thee, but take my counsel, 
and mortify thy pride, and assumption, and arro- 
gance, and haughtiness, as soon as possible. So 
shalt thou derive from me a benefit which none but 
myself can bestow.' 

RajaVikram hearing these rough words, so strange 
to his royal ear, winced ; then he rejoiced that his 
heir-apparent was not near ; then he looked round 
at his son Dharma Dhwaj, to see if he was imperti- 
nent enough to be amused by the Baital. But the 
first glance showed him the young prince busily 
employed in pinching and screwing the monster's 
legs, so as to make it fit better into the cloth. Vi- 
kram then seized the ends of the waistcloth, twisted 


them into a convenient form for handling, stooped, 
raised the bundle with a jerk, tossed it over his 
shoulder, and bidding his son not to lag behind, set 
off at a round pace towards the western end of the 

The shower had ceased, and, as they gained ground, 
the weather greatly improved. 

The Yampire asked a few indifferent questions 
about the wind and the rain and the mud. When 
he received no answer, he began to feel uncomfort- 
able, and he broke out with these words : c King 
Vikram, listen to the true story which I am about to 
tell thee.' 




IN Benares once reigned a mighty prince, by name 
Pratapamukut, to whose eighth son Yajramukut 
happened the strangest adventure. 

One morning, the young man, accompanied by the 
son of his father's pradhan or prime minister, rode 
out hunting, and went far into the jungle. At last 
the twain unexpectedly came upon a beautiful f tank ' l 
of a prodigious size. It was surrounded by short 
thick walls of fine baked brick; and flights and 
ramps of cut- stone steps, half the length of each face, 
and adorned with turrets, pendants, and fmials, led 
down to the water. The substantial plaster work 
and the masonry had fallen into disrepair, and from 
the crevices sprang huge trees, under whose thick 
shade the breeze blew freshly, and on whose balmy 
branches the birds sang sweetly ; the grey squirrels 2 
chirruped joyously as they coursed one another up 

1 A pond, natural or artificial ; in the latter case often covering an 
extent of ten to twelve acres. 

2 The Hindustani 'gilahri,' or little grey squirrel, whose twittering 
cry is often mistaken for a bird's. 


the gnarled trunks, and from the pendent llianas the 
long-tailed monkeys were swinging sportively. The 
bountiful hand of Sravana 1 had spread the earthen 
rampart with a carpet of the softest grass and many- 
hued wild flowers, in which were buzzing swarms of 
bees and myriads of bright-winged insects ; and 
flocks of water-fowl, wild geese, Brahmini ducks, 
bitterns, herons, and cranes, male and female, were 
feeding on the narrow strip of brilliant green that 
belted the long deep pool, amongst the broad-leaved 
lotuses with the lovely blossoms, splashing through 
the pellucid waves, and basking happily in the genial 

The prince and his friend wondered when they saw 
the beautiful tank in the midst of a wild forest, and 
made many vain conjectures about it. They dis- 
mounted, tethered their horses, and threw their 
weapons upon the ground ; then, having washed 
their hands and faces, they entered a shrine dedi- 
cated to Mahadeva, and there began to worship the 
presiding deity. 

Whilst they were making their offerings, a bevy of 
maidens, accompanied by a crowd of female slaves, 
descended the opposite flight of steps. They stood 
there for a time, talking and laughing and looking 
about them to see if any alligators infested the 
waters. When convinced that the tank was safe, 

1 The autumn or rather the rainy season personified a hackneyed 
Hindu prosopopoeia. 


they disrobed themselves in order to bathe. It was 
truly a splendid spectacle 

'Concerning which the less said the better/ in- 
terrupted Eaja Vikram in an offended tone. 1 

but it did not last long. The Raja's daughter 

for the principal maiden was a princess soon left 
her companions, who were scooping up water with 
their palms and dashing it over one another's heads, 
and proceeded to perform the rites of purification, 
meditation, and worship. Then she began strolling 
with a friend under the shade of a small mango grove. 

The prince also left his companion sitting in prayer, 
and walked forth into the forest. Suddenly the eyes 
of the Raja's son and the Raja's daughter met. She 
started back with a little scream. He was fascinated 
by her beauty, arid began to say to himself, ' thou 
vile Kama, 2 why worriest thou me ? ' 

Hearing this, the maiden smiled encouragement, 
but the poor youth, between palpitation of the heart 
and hesitation about what to say, was so confused 
that his tongue clave to his teeth. She raised her eye- 
brows a little. There is nothing which women despise 
in a man more than modesty, 3 for mo-des-ty 

A violent shaking of the bag which hung behind 
Yikram's royal back broke off the end of this offensive 

1 Light conversation upon the subject of women is a personal offence 
to serious-minded Hindus. 

2 Cupid in his two forms, Eros and Anteros. 

8 This is true to life ; in the East, women make the first advances, 
and men do the beyueules. 


sentence. And the warrior king did not cease that 
discipline till the Baital promised him to preserve 
more decorum in his observations. 

Still the prince stood before her with downcast 
eyes and suffused cheeks : even the spur of contempt 
failed to arouse his energies. Then the maiden 
called to her friend, who was picking jasmine flowers 
so as not to witness the scene, and angrily asked why 
that strange man was allowed to stand and stare at 
her ? The friend, in hot wrath, threatened to call 
the slave, and to throw Yajramukut into the pond 
unless he instantly went away with his impudence. 
But as the prince was rooted to the spot, and really 
had not heard a word of what had been said to him, 
the two women were obliged to make the first move. 

As they almost reached the tank, the beautiful 
maiden turned her head to see what the poor modest 
youth was doing. 

Yajramukut was formed in every way to catch a 
woman's eye. The Kaja's daughter therefore half 

forgave him his offence of mod . Again she 

sweetly smiled, disclosing two rows of little opals. 
Then descending to the water's edge, she stooped 
down and plucked a lotus. This she worshipped ; 
next she placed it in her hair, then she put it to her 
ear, then she bit it with her teeth, then she trod upon 
it with her foot, then she raised it up again, and 
lastly she stuck it in her bosom. After which she 
mounted her conveyance and went home to her 


friends ; whilst the prince, having become thoroughly 
desponding and drowned in grief at separation from 
her, returned to the minister's son. 

' Females ! ' ejaculated the minister's son, speaking 
to himself in a careless tone, when, his prayer 
finished, he left the temple, and sat down upon the 
tank steps to enjoy the breeze. He presently drew a 
roll of paper from under his waist-belt, and in a short 
time was engrossed with his study. The women 
seeing this conduct, exerted themselves in every pos- 
sible way of wile to attract his attention and to distract 
his soul. They succeeded only so far as to make him 
roll his head with a smile, and to remember that such 
is always the custom of man's bane ; after which he 
turned over a fresh page of manuscript. And although 
he presently began to wonder what had become of 
the prince his master, he did not look up even once 
from his study. 

He was a philosopher, that young man. But 
after all, Raja Yikram, what is mortal philosophy ? 
Nothing but another name for indifference! Who 
was ever philosophical about a thing truly loved or 
really hated ? no one ! Philosophy, says Shankha- 
racharya, is either the gift of nature or the reward of 
study. But I, the Baital, the devil, ask you, what is 
a born philosopher, save a man of cold desires ? And 
what is a bred philosopher but a man who has sur- 
vived his desires ? A young philosopher ? a cold- 
blooded youth ! An elderly philosopher ? a leuco- 


phlegmatic old man ! Much nonsense, of a verity, ye 
hear in praise of nothing from your Rajaship's Nine 
Gems of Science, and from sundry other such wise 

Then the prince began to relate the state of his 
case, saying, '0 friend, I have seen a damsel, but 
whether she be a musician from Indra's heaven, a 
maiden of the sea, a daughter of the serpent kings, 
or the child of an earthly Eaja, I cannot say.' 

6 Describe her,' said the statesman in embryo. 

' Her face,' quoth the prince, * was that of the full 
moon, her hair like a swarm of bees hanging from 
the blossoms of the acacia, the corners of her eyes 
touched her ears, her lips were sweet with lunar 
ambrosia, her waist was that of a lion, and her walk 
the walk of a king-goose. 1 As a garment, she was 
white ; as a season, the spring ; as a flower, the jas- 
mine ; as a speaker, the kokila bird ; as a perfume, 
musk ; as a beauty, Kamadeva ; and as a being, Love. 
And if she does not come into my possession I will 
not live ; this I have certainly determined upon.' 

The young minister, who had heard his prince say 
the same thing more than once before, did not attach 
great importance to these awful words. He merely 
remarked that, unless they mounted at once, night 
would surprise them in the forest. Then the two 
young men returned to their horses, un tethered them, 
drew on their bridles, saddled them, and catching up 

1 Raja-hans, a large grey goose, the Hindu equivalent for our swan. 


their weapons, rode slowly towards the Eaja's palace. 
During the three hours of return hardly a word passed 
between the pair. Yajramukut not only avoided 
speaking ; he never once replied till addressed thrice 
in the loudest voice. 

The young minister put no more questions, e for,' 
quoth he to himself, c when the prince wants my 
counsel, he will apply for it.' In this point he had 
borrowed wisdom from his father, who held in peculiar 
horror the giving of unasked-for advice. So, when 
he saw that conversation was irksome to his master, 
he held his peace and meditated upon what he called 
his ' day-thought.' It was his practice to choose 
every morning some tough food for reflection, and to 
chew the cud of it in his mind at times when, with- 
out such employment, his wits would have gone wool- 
gathering. You may imagine, Raja Yikram, that 
with a few years of this head-work, the minister's 
son became a very crafty young person. 

After the second day the Prince Yajramukut, being 
restless from grief at separation, fretted himself into 
a fever. Having given up writing, reading, drinking, 
sleeping, the affairs entrusted to him by his father, 
and everything else, he sat down, as he said, to die. 
He used constantly to paint the portrait of the beau- 
tiful lotus gatherer, and to lie gazing upon it with 
tearful eyes ; then he would start up and tear it to 
pieces and beat his forehead, and begin another 
picture of a yet more beautiful face. 


At last, as the pradhan's son had foreseen, he was 
summoned by the young Raja, whom he found upon 
his bed, looking- yellow and complaining bitterly of 
headache. Frequent discussions upon the subject 
of the tender passion had passed between the two 
youths, and one of them had ever spoken of it so very 
disrespectfully that the other felt ashamed to intro- 
duce it. But when his friend, with a view to provoke 
communicativeness, advised a course of boiled and 
bitter herbs and great attention to diet, quoting the 
hemistich attributed to the learned physician Charn- 

A fever starve, but feed a cold, 

the unhappy Yajramukut's fortitude abandoned him ; 
he burst into tears, and exclaimed, l Whosoever en- 
ters upon the path of love cannot survive it ; and if 
(by chance) he should live, what is life to him but a 
prolongation of his misery ? ' 

4 Yea,' replied the minister's son, ' the sage hath 

The road of love is that which hath no beginning nor end ; 
Take thou heed of thyself, man ! ere thou place foot upon it. 

And the wise, knowing that there are three things 
whose effect upon himself no man can foretell 
namely, desire of woman, the dice-box, and the 
drinking of ardent spirits find total abstinence from 
them the best of rules. Yet, after all, if there is no 
cow, we must milk the bull.' 


The advice was, of course, excellent, but the 
hapless lover could not help thinking that on this 
occasion it came a little too late. However, after a 
pause he returned to the subject and said, I have 
ventured to tread that dangerous way, be its end 
pain or pleasure, happiness or destruction.' He 
then hung down his head and sighed from the 
bottom of his heart. 

' She is the person who appeared to us at the 
tank ? ' asked the pradhan's son, moved to com- 
passion by the state of his master. 

The prince assented. 

' great king,' resumed the minister's son, ' at 
the time of going away had she said anything to 
you ? or had you said anything to her ? ' 

( Nothing ! ' replied the other laconically, when he 
found his friend beginning to take an interest in the 

6 Then, 9 said the minister's son, ' it will be ex- 
ceedingly difficult to get possession of her.' 

6 Then,' repeated the Eaja's son, 4 1 am doomed to 
death ; to an early and melancholy death ! ' 

6 Humph ! ' ejaculated the young statesman rather 
impatiently, 'did she make any sign, or give any 
hint ? Let me know all that happened : half confi- 
dences are worse than none.' 

Upon which the prince related everything that 
took place by the side of the tank, bewailing the 
false shame which had made him dumb, and con- 
cluding with her pantomime. 


The pradhan's son took thought for a while. He 
thereupon seized the opportunity of representing to 
his master all the evil effects of bashfulness when 
women are concerned, and advised him, as he would 
be a happy lover, to brazen his countenance for the 
next interview. 

Which the young Eaja faithfully promised to do. 

6 And, now,' said the other, e be comforted, my 
master ! I know her name and her dwelling-place. 
When she suddenly plucked the lotus flower and 
worshipped it, she thanked the gods for having 
blessed her with a sight of your beauty.' 

Vajramukut smiled, the first time for the last 

' When she applied it to her ear, it was as if she 
would have explained to thee, " I am a daughter of 
the Carnatic ; " i and when she bit it with her teeth, 
she meant to say that " My father is Kaja Danta- 
wat," 2 who, by the bye, has been, is, and ever will 
be, a mortal foe to thy father.' 

Yajramukut shuddered. 

6 When she put it under her foot it meant, " My 
name is Padmavati." ' 3 

Vajramukub uttered a cry of joy. 

6 And when she placed it in her bosom, " You are 
truly dwelling in my heart " was meant to be under- 

1 Properly Karnatak ; karna in Sanskrit means an ear. 

2 Danta in Sanskrit is a tooth. 
9 Fadma means a foot. 


At these words the young Baja started up full of 
new life, and after praising with enthusiasm the 
wondrous sagacity of his dear friend, begged him by 
some contrivance to obtain the permission of his 
parents, and to conduct him to her city. The 
minister's son easily got leave for Yajramukut to 
travel, under pretext that his body required change 
of water, and his mind change of scene. They both 
dressed and armed themselves for the journey, and 
having taken some jewels, mounted their horses and 
followed the road in that direction in which the 
princess had gone. 

Arrived after some days at the capital of the 
Carnatic, the minister's son having disguised his 
master and himself in the garb of travelling traders, 
alighted and pitched his little tent upon a clear bit 
of ground in one of the suburbs. He then proceeded 
to inquire for a wise woman, wanting, he said, to 
have his fortune told. When the prince asked him 
what this meant, he replied that elderly dames who 
professionally predict the future are never above 
ministering to the present, and therefore that, in 
such circumstances, they are the properest persons 
to be consulted. 

6 Is this a treatise upon the subject of immorality, 
devil ? ' demanded the King Vikram ferociously. The 
Baital declared that it was not, but that he must tell 
his story. 

The person addressed pointed to an old woman 


Went up to her with polite salutation: 


who, seated before the door of her hut, was spinning 
at her wheel. Then the young men went up to her 
with polite salutations and said, 'Mother, we are 
travelling traders, and our stock is coming after us ; 
we have come on in advance for the purpose of find- 
ing a place to live in. If you will give us a house, 
we will remain there and pay you highly.' 

The old woman, who was a physiognomist as well 
as a fortune-teller, looked at the faces of the young 
men and liked them, because their brows were 
wide and their mouths denoted generosity. Having 
listened to their words, she took pity upon them 
and said kindly, i This hovel is yours, my masters, 
remain here as long as you please.' Then she led 
them into an inner room, again welcomed them, 
lamented the poorness of her abode, and begged 
them to lie down and rest themselves. 

After some interval of time the old woman came 
to them once more, and sitting down began to 
gossip. The minister's son upon this asked her, 
' How is it with thy family, thy relatives, and con- 
nections ; and what are thy means of subsistence ? ' 
She replied, ' My son is a favourite servant in the 
household of our great king Dantawat, and your 
slave is the wet-nurse of the Princess Padmavati, his 
eldest child. From the coming on of old age,' she 
added, ' I dwell in this house,, but the king provides 
for my eating and drinking. I go once a day to see 
the girl, who is a miracle of beauty and goodness, 


wit and accomplishments, and returning thence, I 
bear niy own griefs at home.' l 

In a few days the young Vajrainukut had, by his 
liberality, soft speech, and good looks, made such 
progress in nurse Lakshmi's affections that, by the 
advice of his companion, he ventured to broach the 
subject ever nearest his heart. He begged his hostess, 
when she went on the morrow to visit the charming 
Padmavati, that she would be kind enough to slip a 
bit of paper into the princess's hand. 

4 Son,' she replied, delighted with the proposal 
and what old woman would not be ? ( there is no 
need for putting off so urgent an affair till the mor- 
row. Get your paper ready, and I will immediately 
give it.' 

Trembling with pleasure, the prince ran to find 
his friend, who was seated in the garden reading, as 
usual, and told him what the old nurse had engaged 
to do. He then began to debate about how he 
should write his letter, to cull sentences and to weigh 
phrases ; whether e light of my eyes ' was not too 
trite, and f blood of my liver ' rather too forcible. 
At this the minister's son smiled, and bade the prince 
not trouble his head with composition. He then 
drew his inkstand from his waist-shawl, nibbed a 
reed pen, and choosing a piece of pink and flowered 
paper, he wrote upon it a few lines. He then folded 
it, gummed it, sketched a lotus flower upon the out- 

1 A common Hindu phrase equivalent to our ' I manage to get on.' 


side, and handing it to the young prince, told him to 
give it to their hostess, and that all would be well. 

The old woman took her staff in her hand and 
hobbled straight to the palace. Arrived there, she 
found the Eaja's daughter sitting alone in her apart- 
ment. The maiden, seeing her nurse, immediately 
arose, and making a respectful bow, led her to a seat 
and began the most affectionate inquiries. After 
giving her blessing and sitting for some time and 
chatting about indifferent matters, the nurse said, 
' daughter ! in infancy I reared and nourished 
thee, now .the Bhagwan (Deity) has rewarded me by 
giving thee stature, beauty, health, and goodness. 
My heart only longs to see the happiness of thy 
womanhood, 1 after which I shall depart in peace. I 
implore thee read this paper, given to me by the 
handsomest and the properest young man that my 
eyes have ever seen.' 

The princess, glancing at the lotus on the outside 
of the note, slowly unfolded it and perused its con- 
tents, which were as follows : 

She was to me the pearl that clings 
To sands all hid from mortal sight, 

Yet fit for diadems of kings, 
The pure and lovely light. 

Meaning marriage, maternity, and so forth. 
F 2 



She was to me the gleam of sun 

That breaks the gloom of wintry day ; 

One moment shone my soul upon, 
Then passed how soon ! away. 


She was to me the dreams of bliss 

That float the dying eyes before, 
For one short hour shed happiness, 

And fly to bless no more. 

light, again upon me shine ; 

pearl, again delight my eyes ; 
dreams of bliss, again be mine ! 

No ! earth may not be Paradise. 

I must not forget to remark, parenthetically, that 
the minister's son, in order to make these lines gene- 
rally useful, had provided them with a last stanza in 
triplicate. f For lovers, 5 he said sagely, ' are either 
in the optative mood, the desperative, or the exulta- 
tive.' This time he had used the optative. For the 
desperative he would substitute : 

The joys of life lie dead, lie dead, 

The light of day is quenched in gloom ; 
The spark of hope my heart hath fled 

What now withholds me from the tomb ? 

And this was the termination exultative, as he called 


joy ! the pearl is mine again, 

Once more the day is bright and clear, 
And now 'tis real, then 'twas vain, 

My dream of bliss heaven is here ! 


The Princess Padmavati having perused this dog- 
grel with a contemptuous look, tore off the first word 
of the last line, and said to the nurse, angrily, ' Get 
thee gone, mother of Yama, 1 unfortunate crea- 
ture, and take back this answer' giving her the 
scrap of paper ' to the fool who writes such bad 
verses. I wonder where he studied the humanities. 
Begone, and never do such an action again ! ' 

The old nurse, distressed at being so treated, rose 
up and returned home. Yajramukut was too agitated 
to await her arrival, so he went to meet her on the 
way. Imagine his disappointment when she gave 
him the fatal word and repeated to him exactly what 
happened, not forgetting to describe a single look ! 
He felt tempted to plunge his sword into his bosom ; 
but Fortune interfered, and sent him to consult his 

6 Be not so hasty and desperate, my prince/ said 
the pradhan's son, seeing his wild grief ; ' you have 
not understood her meaning. Later in life you will 
be aware of the fact that, in nine cases out of ten, a 
woman's " no " is a distinct " yes." This morning's 
work has been good ; the maiden asked where you 
learned the humanities, which being interpreted sig- 
nifies " Who are you ? " ' 

On the next day the prince disclosed his rank to 
old Lakshmi, who naturally declared that she had 

1 Yama is Pluto ; ' mother of Yama ' is generally applied to aa old 


always known it. The trust they reposed in her 
made her ready to address Padmavati once more on 
the forbidden subject. So she again went to the 
palace, and having lovingly greeted her nursling, 
said to her, ' The Raja's son, whose heart thou didst 
fascinate on the brim of the tank, on the fifth day of 
the moon, in the light half of the month Yeth, has 
come to my house, and sends this message to thee : 
" Perform what you promised ; we have now come ; " 
and I also tell thee that this prince is worthy of 
thee : just as thou art beautiful, so is he endowed 
with all good qualities of mind and body.' 

When Padmavati heard this speech she showed 
great anger, and, rubbing sandal on her beautiful 
hands, she slapped the old woman's cheeks, and 
cried, ' Wretch, Daina (witch) ! get out of my 
house ; did I not forbid thee to talk such folly in 
my presence ? ' 

The lover and the nurse were equally distressed at 
having taken the advice of the young minister, till 
he explained what the crafty damsel meant. ' When 
she smeared the sandal on her ten fingers,' he ex- 
plained, c and struck the old woman on the face, she 
signified that when the remaining ten moonlight 
nights shall have passed away she will meet you in 
the dark.' At the same time he warned his master 
that to all appearances the lady Padmavati was far 
too clever to make a comfortable wife. The minister's 
son especially hated talented, intellectual, and strong- 


minded women : he had been heard to describe the 
torments of Naglok 1 as the compulsory companion- 
ship of a polemical divine and a learned authoress, 
well stricken in years and of forbidding aspect, as 
such persons mostly are. Amongst womankind he 
admired theoretically, as became a philosopher the 
small, plump, laughing, chattering, unintellectual, 
and material-minded. And therefore excuse the 
digression, Raja Vikrarn he married an old maid, 
tall, thin, yellow, strictly proper, cold-mannered, a 
conversationist, and who prided herself upon spirit- 
uality. But more wonderful still, after he did marry 
her, he actually loved her what an incomprehensi- 
ble being is man in these matters ! 

To return, however. The pradhan's son, who 
detected certain symptoms of strong-mindedness in 
the Princess Padmavati, advised his lord to be wise 
whilst wisdom availed him. This sage counsel was, 
as might be guessed, most ungraciously rejected by 
him for whose benefit it was intended. Then the 
sensible young statesman rated himself soundly for 
having broken his father's rule touching advice, and 
atoned for it by blindly forwarding the views of his 

After the ten nights of moonlight had passed, the 
old nurse was again sent to the palace with the usual 
message. This time Padmavati put saffron on three 
of her fingers, and again left their marks on the 

1 Snake-land ; the infernal region. 


nurse's cheek. The minister's son explained that 
this was to crave delay for three days, and that on 
the fourth the lover would have access to her. 

When the time had passed the old woman again 
went and inquired after her health and well-being. 
The princess was as usual very wroth, and having 
personally taken her nurse to the western gate, she 
called her ' Mother of the elephant's trunk,' l and 
drove her out with threats of the bastinado if she 
ever came back. This was reported to the young 
statesman, who, after a few minutes' consideration, 
said, ' The explanation of this matter is, that she has 
invited you to-morrow, at night-time, to meet her at 
this very gate.' 

When brown shadows fell upon the face of earth, 
and here and there a star spangled the pale heavens, 
the minister's son called Vajramukut, who had 
been engaged in adorning himself at least half 
that day. He had carefully shaved his cheeks and 
chin ; his niustachio was trimmed and curled ; he 
had arched his eyebrows by plucking out with 
tweezers the fine hairs around them ; he had trained 
his curly musk-coloured love-locks to hang gracefully 
down his face ; he had drawn broad lines of antimony 
along his eyelids, a most brilliant sectarian mark 
was affixed to his forehead, the colour of his lips had 
been heightened by chewing betel-nut 

1 A form of abuse given to Durga, who was the mother of Granesha 
(Janus); the latter had an elephant's head. 


' One would imagine that you are talking of a silly 
girl, not of a prince, fiend ! ' interrupted Vikram, 
who did not wish his son to hear what he called 
these fopperies and frivolities. 

and whitened his neck by having it shaved 

(continued the Baital, speaking quickly, as if de- 
termined not to be interrupted), and reddened the 
tips of his ears by squeezing them, and made his teeth 
shine by rubbing copper powder into the roots, and set 
off the delicacy of his fingers by staining the tips with 
henna. He had not been less careful of his dress : 
he wore a well-arranged turban, which had taken 
him at least two hours to bind, and a rich suit of 
brown stuff chosen for the adventure he was about 
to attempt, and he hung about his person a number 
of various weapons, so as to appear a hero which 
young damsels admire. 

Yajramukut asked his friend how he looked, and 
smiled happily when the other replied ' Admirable ! ' 
His happiness was so great that he feared it might 
not last, and he asked the minister's son how best to 
conduct himself? 

* As a conqueror, my prince ! ' answered that astute 
young man, 'if it so be that you would be one. 
When you wish to win a woman, always impose upon 
her. Tell her that you are her master, and she will 
forthwith believe herself to be your servant. Inform 
her that she loves you, and forthwith she will adore 
you. Show her that you care nothing for her, and 


she will think of nothing but you. Prove to her by 
your demeanour that you consider her a slave, and 
she will become your pariah. But above all things 
excuse ine if I repeat myself too often beware of 
the fatal virtue which men call modesty and women 
sheepislmess. Eecollect the trouble it has given us, 
and the danger which we have incurred ; all this 
might have been managed at a tank within fifteen 
miles of your royal father's palace. And allow me to 
say that you may still thank your stars ; in love a lost 
opportunity is seldom if ever recovered. The time 
to woo a woman is the moment you meet her, before 
she has had time to think; allow her the use of 
reflection and she may escape the net. And after 
avoiding the rock of Modesty, fall not, I conjure you, 
into the gulf of Security. I fear the lady Padmavati, 
she is too clever and too prudent. When damsels of 
her age draw the sword of Love, they throw away 
the scabbard of Precaution. But you yawn I weary 
you it is time for us to move.' 

Two watches of the night had passed, and there 
was profound stillness on earth. The young men 
then walked quietly through the shadows, till they 
reached the western gate of the palace, and found 
the wicket ajar. The minister's son peeped in and 
saw the porter dozing, stately as a Brahman deep in 
the Vedas, and behind him stood a veiled woman 
seemingly waiting for somebody. He then returned 
on tiptoe to the place where he had left his master, 


and with a parting caution against modesty and 
security, bade him fearlessly glide through the 
wicket. Then having stayed a short time at the 
gate listening with anxious ear, he went back to the 
old woman's house. 

Vajramukut penetrating to the staircase, felt his 
hand grasped by the veiled figure, who motioning 
him to tread lightly, led him quickly forwards. They 
passed under several arches, through dim passages 
and dark doorways, till at last running up a flight 
of stone steps they reached the apartments of the 

Vajramukut was nearly fainting as the flood of 
splendour broke upon him. Recovering himself he 
gazed around the rooms, and presently a tumult of 
delight invaded his soul, and his body bristled with 
joy. 1 The scene was that of fairyland. Golden cen- 
sers exhaled the most costly perfumes, and gemmed 
vases bore the most beautiful flowers ; silver lamps 
containing fragrant oil illuminated doors whose pa- 
nels were wonderfully decorated, and walls adorned 
with pictures in which such figures were formed that 
on seeing them the beholder was enchanted. On 
one side of the room stood a bed of flowers and a 
couch covered with brocade of gold, and strewed with 
freshly-culled jasmine flowers. On the other side, 
arranged in proper order, were attar-holders, betel- 

1 Unexpected pleasure, according to the Hindus, gives a bristly 
elevation to the down of the body. 


boxes, rose-water bottles, trays, and silver cases with 
four partitions for essences compounded of rose-leaves, 
sugar, a,nd spices, prepared sandal wood, saffron, and 
pods of musk. Scattered about a stuccoed floor white 
as crystal, were coloured caddies of exquisite con- 
fections, and in others sweetmeats of various kinds. 1 
Female attendants clothed in dresses of various 
colours were standing each according to her rank, 
with hands respectfully joined. Some were reading 
plays and beautiful poems, others danced and others 
performed with glittering fingers and flashing arms 
on various instruments the ivory lute, the ebony 
pipe, and the silver kettledrum. In short, all the 
means and appliances of pleasure and enjoyment were 
there ; and any description of the appearance of the 
apartments, which were the wonder of the age, is 

Then another veiled figure, the beautiful Princess 
Padmavati, came up and disclosed herself, and daz- 
zled the eyes of her delighted Yajramukut. She led 
him into an alcove, made him sit down, rubbed san- 
dal powder upon his body, hung a garland of jasmine 
flowers round his neck, sprinkled rose-water over his 
dress, and began to wave over his head a fan of pea- 
cock feathers with a golden handle. 

Said the prince, who despite all efforts could not 
entirely shake off his unhappy habit of being modest, 

1 The Hindus banish 'flasks,* et hoc genus omne, from these scenes, 
and perhaps they are right. 


' Those very delicate hands of yours are not fit to ply 
the pankha. 1 Why do you take so much trouble? 
I am cool and refreshed by the sight of you. Do 
give the fan to me and sit down.' 

* Nay, great king ! ' replied Padmavati, with the 
most fascinating of smiles, ' you have taken so much 
trouble for my sake in coming here, it is right that I 
perform service for you.' 

Upon which her favourite slave, taking the pankha 
from the hand of the princess, exclaimed, ( This is 
my duty. I will perform the service ; do you two 
enjoy yourselves ! ' 

The lovers then began to chew betel, which, by 
the bye, they disposed of in little agate boxes which 
they drew from their pockets, and they were soon 
engaged in the tenderest conversation. 

Here the Baital paused for a while, probably to 
take breath. Then he resumed his tale as follows : 

In the meantime, it became dawn ; the princess 
concealed him ; and when night returned they again 
engaged in the same innocent pleasures. Thus day 
after day sped rapidly by. Imagine, if you can, the 
youth's felicity ; he was of an ardent temperament, 
deeply enamoured, barely a score of years old, and he 
had been strictly brought up by serious parents. He, 
therefore resigned himself entirely to the siren for 

1 The Pankha, or large common fan, is a leaf of the Corypha umbra- 
culifera, with the petiole cut to the length of about five feet, pared 
round the edges and painted to look pretty. It is wared by the servant 
standing behind a chair. 


whom lie willingly forgot the world, and he wondered 
at his good fortune, which had thrown in his way a 
conquest richer than all the mines of Meru. 1 He 
could not sufficiently admire his Padmavati's grace, 
beauty, bright wit, and numberless accomplishments. 
Every morning, for vanity's sake, he learned from 
her a little useless knowledge in verse as well as 
prose, for instance, the saying of the poet 

Enjoy the present hour, 'tis thine ; be this, man, thy law ; 
Who e'er resaw the yester ? Who the morrow e'er foresaw? 

And this highly philosophical axiom 

Eat. drink, and love the rest's not worth a fillip. 

c By means of which he hoped, Eaja Yikram ! ' 
said the demon, not heeding his royal carrier's ' ughs ' 
and c poohs, 5 ' to become in course of time almost as 
clever as his mistress.' 

Padmavati, being, as you have seen, a maiden of 
superior mind, was naturally more smitten by her 
lover's dulness than by any other of his qualities ; 
she adored it, it was such a contrast to herself. 2 At 
first she did what many clever women do she invested 
him with the brightness of her own imagination. 
Still water, she pondered, runs deep ; certainly under 
this disguise must lurk a brilliant fancy, a penetrating 
but a mature and ready judgment are they not 

1 The fabulous mass of precious stones forming the sacred mountain 
of Hindu mythology. 

2 ' I love my love with an " S," because he is stupid and not pyscho- 


written by nature's hand on that broad high brow ? 
With such lovely mustachios can he be aught but 
generous, noble-minded, magnanimous ? Can such 
eyes belong to any but a hero ? And she fed the 
delusion. She would smile upon him with intense 
fondness, when, after wasting hours over a few lines 
of poetry, he would misplace all the adjectives and 
barbarously entreat the metre. She laughed with 
gratification, when, excited by the bright sayings that 
fell from her lips, the youth put forth some platitude, 
dim as the lamp in the expiring fire-fly. When he 
slipped in grammar she saw malice under it, when 
he retailed a borrowed jest she called it a good one, 
and when he used as princes sometimes will bad 
language, she discovered in it a charming simplicity. 

At first she suspected that the stratagems which 
had won her heart were the results of a deep-laid 
plot proceeding from her lover. But clever women 
are apt to be rarely sharp-sighted in every matter 
which concerns themselves. She frequently deter- 
mined that a third was in the secret. She therefore 
made no allusion to it. Before long the enamoured 
Yajramukut had told her everything, beginning with 
the diatribe against love pronounced by the minister's 
son, and ending with the solemn warning that she, 
the pretty princess, would some day or other play her 
husband a foul trick. 

' If I do not revenge myself upon him,' thought 
the beautiful Padmavati, smiling like an angel as she 


listened to the youth's confidence, may I become a 
gardener's ass in the next birth ! ' 

Having thus registered avow, she broke silence, and 
praised to the skies the young pradhan's wisdom and 
sagacity ; professed herself ready from gratitude to 
become his slave, and only hoped that one day or 
other she might meet that true friend by whose skill 
her soul had been gratified in its dearest desire. 
' Only,' she concluded, ' I am convinced that now my 
Yajramukut knows every corner of his little Padma- 
vati's heart, he will never expect her to do anything 
but love, admire, adore and kiss him ! ' Then suiting 
the action to the word, she convinced him that the 
young minister had for once been too crabbed and 
cynic in his philosophy. 

But after the lapse of a month Vajramukut, who 
had eaten and drunk and slept a great deal too much, 
and who had not once hunted, became bilious in body 
and in mind melancholic. His face turned yellow, 
and so did the whites of his eyes ; he yawned, as 
liver patients generally do, complained occasionally 
of sick headaches, and lost his appetite ; he became 
restless and anxious, and once when alone at night 
he thus thought aloud : c I have given up country, 
throne, home, and everything else, but the friend by 
means of whom this happiness was obtained I have 
not seen for the long length of thirty days. What 
will he say to himself, and how can I know what has 
happened to him ? ' 


In this state of tilings he was sitting, and in the 
meantime the beautiful princess arrived. She saw 
through the matter, and lost not a moment in enter- 
ing upon it. She began by expressing her astonish- 
ment at her lover's fickleness and fondness for change, 
and when he was ready to wax wroth, and quoted the 
words of the sage, ' A barren wife may be superseded 
by another in the eighth year ; she whose children 
all die, in the tenth ; she who brings forth only 
daughters, in the eleventh ; she who scolds, without 
delay,' thinking that she alluded to his love, she 
smoothed his temper by explaining that she referred 
to his forgetting his friend. ' How is it possible, O 
my soul,' she asked with the softest of voices, ' that 
thou canst enjoy happiness here whilst thy heart is 
wandering there ? Why didst thou conceal this from 
me, astute one? Was it for fear of distressing 
me ? Think better of thy wife than to suppose that 
she would ever separate thee from one to whom we 
both owe so much ! ' 

After this Padmavati advised, nay ordered, her 
lover to go forth that night, and not to return till 
his mind was quite at ease, and she begged him to 
take a few sweetmeats and other trifles as a little 
token of her admiration and regard for the clever 
young man of whom she had heard so much. 

Yajramukut embraced her with a transport of 
gratitude, which so inflamed her anger that, fearing 
lest the cloak of concealment might fall from her 


countenance, she went away hurriedly to find the 
greatest delicacies which her comfit boxes contained. 
Presently she returned, carrying a bag of sweetmeats 
of every kind for her lover, and as he rose up to 
depart, she put into his hand a little parcel of sugar- 
plums especially intended for the friend ; they were 
made up with her own delicate fingers, and the} 7 " 
would please, she flattered herself, even his dis- 
criminating palate. 

The young prince, after enduring a number of 
farewell embraces and hopings for a speedy return, 
and last words ever beginning again, passed sa/fely 
through the palace gate, and with a relieved aspect 
walked briskly to the house of the old nurse. Al- 
though it was midnight his friend was still sitting 
on his mat. 

The two young men fell upon one another's bosoms 
and embraced affectionately. Then they began to 
talk of matters nearest their hearts. The Raja's 
son wondered at seeing the jaded and haggard looks 
of his companion, who did not disguise that they 
were caused by his anxiety as to what might have 
happened to his friend at the hand of so talented 
and so superior a princess. Upon which Yajramukut, 
who now thought Padmavati an angel, and his late 
abode a heaven, remarked with formality and two 
blunders to one quotation that abilities properly 
directed win for a man the happiness of both worlds. 

The pradhan's son rolled his head. 


6 Again on your hobby-horse, nagging at talent 
whenever you find it in others ! ' cried the young 
prince with a pun, which would have delighted Pad- 
mavati. ' Surely you are jealous of her ! ' he resumed, 
anything but pleased with the dead silence that had 
received his joke ; ' jealous of her cleverness, and of 
her love for me. She is the very best creature in 
the world. Even you, woman-hater as you are, 
would own it if you only knew all the kind messages 
she sent, and the little pleasant surprise she has 
prepared for you. There ! take and eat ; they are 
made by her own dear hands ! ' cried the young 
Raja, producing the sweetmeats. ' As she herself 
taught me to say 

Thank God I am a man, 
Not a philosopher ! ' 

6 The kind messages she sent me ! The pleasant 
surprise she has prepared for me ! ' repeated the 
minister's son in a hard, dry tone. ' My lord will be 
pleased to tell me how she heard of my name ? ' 

6 1 was sitting one night,' replied the prince, ' in 
anxious thought about you, when at that moment 
the princess coming in and seeing my condition, 
asked, " Why are you thus sad ? Explain the cause 
to me." I then gave her an account of your clever- 
ness, and when she had heard it she gave me per- 
mission to go and see you, and sent these sweetmeats 
for you : eat them and I shall be pleased.' 

* Great king ! ' rejoined the young statesman, ' one 


thing vouchsafe to hear from me. You have not 
done well in that you have told my name. You 
should never let a woman think that your left hand 
knows the secret which she confided to your right, 
much less that you have shared it to a third person. 
Secondly, you did evil in allowing her to see the 
affection with which you honour your unworthy ser- 
vant a woman ever hates her lover's or husband's 

e What could I do ? ' rejoined the young Raja, in 
a querulous tone of voice. 6 When I love a woman I 
like to tell her everything to have no secrets from, 
her to consider her another self ' 

'Which habit,' interrupted the pradhan's son, 
6 you will lose when you are a little older, when you 
recognise the fact that love is nothing but a bout, a 
game of skill between two individuals of opposite 
sexes : the one seeking to gain as much, and the 
other striving to lose as little, as possible ; and that 
the sharper of the twain thus met on the chess-board 
must, in the long run, win. And reticence is but a 
habit. Practise it for a year, and you will find it 
harder to betray than to conceal your thoughts. It 
hath its joys also. Is there no pleasure, think you, 
when suppressing an outbreak of tender but fatal 
confidence, in saying to yourself, "0, if she only 
knew this?" " 0, if she did but suspect that?" 
Returning, however, to the sugar-plums, my life to 
a pariah's that they are poisoned ! ' 

Having said this, he threw one of the sweetmeats to the dog. 


f Impossible ! ' exclaimed the prince, horror-struck 
at the thought ; ' what you say, surely no one ever 
could do. If a mortal fears not his fellow-mortal, at 
least he dreads the Deity.' 

' I never yet knew/ rejoined the other, ( what a 
woman in love does fear. However, prince, the 
trial is easy. Come here, Muti ! ' cried he to the old 
woman's dog, ' and off with thee to that three-headed 
kinsman of thine, that attends upon his amiable- 
looking master.' l 

Having said this, he threw one of the sweetmeats 
to the dog ; the animal ate it, and presently writhing 
and falling down, died. 

' The wretch ! the wretch ! ' cried Yajramukut, 
transported with wonder and anger. ' And I loved 
her ! But now it is all over. I dare not associate 
with such a calamity ! ' 

f What has happened, my lord, has happened ! ' 
quoth the minister's son calmly. ' I was prepared 
for something of this kind from so talented a prin- 
cess. None commit such mistakes, such blunders, 
such follies as your clever women ; they cannot even 
turn out a crime decently executed. O give me dul- 
ness with one idea, one aim, one desire. O thrice 
blest dulness that combines with happiness, power.' 

This time Yajramukut did not defend talent. 

* And your slave did his best to warn you against 

1 Hindu mythology has also its Cerberus, Trisisa, the ' three-headed ' 
hound that attends dreadful Yama (Pluto). 


perfidy. But now my heart is at rest. I have tried 
her strength. She has attempted and failed ; the 
defeat will prevent her attempting again just yet. 
But let me ask you to put to yourself one question. 
Can you be happy without her ? ' 

' Brother !' replied the prince, after a pause, ' I 
cannot ;' and he blushed as he made the avowal. 

c Well,' replied the other, c better confess than con- 
ceal that fact ; we must now meet her on the battle- 
field, and beat her at her own weapons cunning. I 
do not willingly begin treachery with women, because, 
in the first place, I don't like it; and secondly, I 
know that they will certainly commence practising 
it upon me, after which I hold myself justified in 
deceiving them. And probably this will be a good 
wife ; remember that she intended to poison me, not 
you. During the last month my fear has been lest 
my prince had run into the tiger's brake. Tell me, 
my lord, when does the princess expect you to return 
to her?' 

' She bade me,' said the young Raja, ' not return 
till my mind was quite at ease upon the subject of 
my talented friend.' 

' This means that she expects you back to-morrow 
night, as you cannot enter the palace before. And 
now I will retire to my cot, as it is there that I am 
wont to ponder over my plans. Before dawn my 
thought shall mature one which must place the 
beautiful Padmavati in your power.' 


' A word before parting,' exclaimed the prince : 
c you know my father has already chosen a spouse for 
me ; what will he say if I bring home a second ? ' 

' In my humble opinion,' said the minister's son, 
rising to retire, < woman is a monogamous, man a 
polygamous creature, a fact scarcely established in 
physiological theory, but very observable in every- 
day practice. For what said the poet ? 

Divorce, friend! Re-wed thee ! The spring draweth near, 1 
And a wife's but an almanac good for the year. 

If your royal father say anything to you, refer him 
to what he himself does.' 

Reassured by these words, Vajramukut bade his 
friend a cordial good-night and sought his cot, where 
he slept soundly, despite the emotions of the last few 
hours. The next day passed somewhat slowly. In 
the evening, when accompanying his master to the 
palace, the minister's son gave him the following 

' Our object, dear my lord, is how to obtain posses- 
sion of the princess. Take, then, this trident, and 
hide it carefully, when you see her show the greatest 
love and affection. Conceal what has happened, and 
when she, wondering at your calmness, asks about 
me, tell her that last night I was weary and out of 
health, that illness prevented my eating her sweet- 
meats, but that I shall eat them for supper to-night. 

1 Parceque c'est la saison des amours. 


When she goes to sleep, then, taking off her jewels 
and striking her left leg with the trident, instantly 
come away to me. But should she lie awake, rub 
upon your thumb a little of this do not fear, it is 
only a powder of grubs fed on verdigris and apply 
it to her nostrils. It would make an elephant sense- 
less, so be careful how you approach it to your own 

Yajramukut embraced his friend, and passed safely 
through the palace gate. He found Padmavati await- 
ing him ; she fell upon his bosom and looked into his 
eyes, and deceived herself, as clever women will do. 
Overpowered by her joy and satisfaction, she now felt 
certain that her lover was hers eternally, and that 
her treachery had not been discovered ; so the beau- 
tiful princess fell into a deep sleep. 

Then Yajramukut lost no time in doing as the 
minister's son had advised, and slipped out of the 
room, carrying off Padmavati's jewels and ornaments. 
His counsellor having inspected them, took up a sack 
and made signs to his master to follow him. Leaving 
the horses and baggage at the nurse's house, they 
walked to a burning-place outside the city. The 
minister's son there buried his dress, together with 
that of the prince, and drew from the sack the cos- 
tume of a religious ascetic : he assumed this himself, 
and gave to his companion that of a disciple. Then 
quoth the guru (spiritual preceptor) to his chela 
(pupil), 6 Go, youth, to the bazaar, and sell these 


jewels, remembering to let half the jewellers in the 
place see the things, and if any one lay hold of thee, 
bring him to me.' 

Upon which, as day had dawned, Vajranmkut 
carried the princess's ornaments to the market, and 
entering the nearest goldsmith's shop, offered to sell 
them, and asked what they were worth. As your ma- 
jesty well knows, gardeners, tailors, and goldsmiths are 
proverbially dishonest, and this man was no exception 
to the rule. He looked at the pupil's face and won- 
dered, because he had brought articles whose value he 
did not appear to know. A thought struck him that 
he might make a bargain which would fill his coffers, 
so he offered about a thousandth part of the price. 
This the pupil rejected, because he wished the affair 
to go further. Then the goldsmith, seeing him about 
to depart, sprang up and stood in the doorway, 
threatening to call the officers of justice if the young 
man refused to give up the valuables which he said 
had lately been stolen from his shop. As the pupil only 
laughed at this, the goldsmith thought seriously of 
executing his threat, hesitating only because he knew 
that the officers of justice would gain more than he 
could by that proceeding. As he was still in doubt a 
shadow darkened his shop, and in entered the chief 
jeweller of the city. The moment the ornaments 
were shown to him he recognised them, and said, 
c These jewels belong to Eaja Dantawat's daughter ; 
I know them well, as I set them only a few months 


ago !' Then he turned to the disciple, who still held 
the valuables in his hand, and cried, ' Tell me truly 
whence you received them.' 

While they were thus talking, a crowd of ten or 
twenty persons had collected, and at length the re- 
port reached the superintendent of the archers. He 
sent a soldier to bring before him the pupil, the 
goldsmith, and the chief jeweller, together with the 
ornaments. And when all were in the hall of justice, 
he looked at the jewels and said to the young man, 
' Tell me truly, whence have you obtained these ?' 

6 My spiritual preceptor,' said Yajramukut, pre- 
tending great fear, ' who is now worshipping in the 
cemetery outside the town, gave me these white 
stones, with an order to sell them. "Bow know I 
whence he obtained them ? Dismiss me, my lord, 
for I am an innocent man.' 

' Let the ascetic be sent for,' commanded the kot- 
wal. 1 Then, having taken both of them, along with 
the jewels, into the presence of King Dantawat, he 
related the whole circumstances. 

c Master !' said the king on hearing the statement, 
' whence have you obtained these jewels ?' 

The spiritual preceptor, before deigning an answer, 
pulled from under his arm the hide of a black ante- 
lope, which he spread out and smoothed deliberately 
before using it as an asan. 2 He then began to finger 

1 The police magistrate, the Catual of Camoens. 

2 The seat of a Hindu ascetic. 


a rosary of beads each as large as an egg, and after 
spending nearly an hour in mutterings and in roll- 
ings of the head, he looked fixedly at the Raja, and 
replied : 

* By Shiva ! great king, they are mine own ! On 
the fourteenth of the dark half of the moon at night, 
I had gone into a place where dead bodies are burned, 
for the purpose of accomplishing a witch's incanta- 
tion. After long and toilsome labour she appeared, 
but her demeanour was so unruly that I was forced to 
chastise her. I struck her with this, my trident, on 
the left leg, if memory serves me. As she continued 
to be refractory, in order to punish her I took off all 
her jewels and clothes, and told her to go where she 
pleased. Even this had little effect upon her never 
have I looked upon so perverse a witch. In this way 
the jewels came into my possession.' 

Raja Dantawat was stunned by these words. He 
begged the ascetic not to leave the palace for a 
while, and forthwith walked into the private apart- 
ments of the women. Happening first to meet the 
queen dowager, he said to her, c Go, without losing a 
minute, O my mother, and look at Padmavati's left 
leg, and see if there is a mark or not, and what sort 
of a mark ! ' Presently she returned, and coming to 
the king said, ' Son, I find thy daughter lying upon 
her bed, and complaining that she has met with an 
accident ; and, indeed, Padmavati must be in great 
pain. I found that some sharp instrument with 


three points had wounded her. The girl says that a 
nail hurt her, but I never yet heard of a nail making; 
three holes. However, we must all hasten, or there 
will be erysipelas, tumefaction, gangrene, mortifica- 
tion, amputation, and perhaps death in the house,' 
concluded the old queen, hurrying away in the 
pleasing anticipation of these ghastly consequences. 

For a moment King Dantawat's heart was ready 
to break. But he was accustomed to master his 
feelings ; he speedily applied the reins of reflection 
to the wild steed of passion. He thought to him- 
self, ' the affairs of one's household, the intentions 
of one's heart, and whatever one's losses may be, 
should not be disclosed to any one. Since Padma- 
vati is a witch, she is no longer my daughter. I 
will verily go forth and consult the spiritual pre- 

With these words the king went outside, where 
the guru was still sitting upon his black hide, 
making marks with his trident on the floor. Having 
requested that the pupil might be sent away, and 
having cleared the room, he said to the jogi, C 
holy man ! what punishment for the heinous crime of 
witchcraft is awarded to a woman in the Dharma- 
Shastra?' 1 

6 Great king ! ' replied the devotee, c in the Dhar- 
ma-Shastra it is thus written : " If a Brahman, a 
cow a woman, a child, or any other person whatso- 

1 The Hindu scripture?. 



ever, who may be dependent on us, should be guilty 
of a perfidious act, their punishment is that they be 
banished the country." However much they may 
deserve death, we must not spill their blood, as 
Lakshmi l flies in horror from the deed.' 

Hearing these words the Raja dismissed the guru 

Mounting their horses, followed the party. 

with many thanks and large presents. He waited 
till nightfall and then ordered a band of trusty men 
to seize Padmavati without alarming the household, 
and to carry her into a distant jungle full of fiends, 
tigers, and bears, and there to abandon her. 

In the meantime, the ascetic and his pupil, hurry- 
ing to the cemetery, resumed their proper dresses ; 
they then went to the old nurse's house, rewarded 
her hospitality till she wept bitterly, girt on their 

1 The Goddess of Prosperity. 


weapons, and mounting their horses, followed the 
party which issued from the gate of King Danta- 
wat's palace. And it may easily be believed that 
they found little difficulty in persuading the poor 
girl to exchange her chance in the wild jungle 
for the prospect of becoming Yajramukut's wife 
lawfully wedded at Benares. She did not even ask 
if she was to have a rival in the house, a question 
which women, you know, never neglect to put under 
usual circumstances. After some days the two pil- 
grims of one love arrived at the house of their 
fathers, and to all, both great and small, excess in 
joy came. 

c ]STow, Raja Yikram! ' said the Baital, 'you have 
not spoken much; doubtless you are engrossed by 
the interest of a story wherein a man beats a woman 
at her own weapon deceit. But I warn you that 
you will assuredly fall into Narak (the infernal 
regions) if you do not make up your mind upon and 
explain this matter. Who was the most to blame 
amongst these four? the lover, 1 the lover's friend, 
the girl, or the father ? ' 

6 For my part I think Padmavati was the worst, 
she being at the bottom of all their troubles,' cried 
Dharma Dhwaj. The king said something about 
young people and the two senses of seeing and hear- 

1 In the original the lover is not blamed ; this would be the Hindu 
view of the matter ; we might be tempted to think of the old injunction 
not to seethe a kid in the mother's milk. 


ing, but his son's sentiment was so sympathetic that 
he at once pardoned the interruption. At length, 
determined to do justice despite himself, Yikram 
said, ' Eaja Dantawat is the person most at fault.' 

' In what way was he at fault ? ' asked the Baital 

King Vikram gave him this reply : ' The Prince 
Vajramukut being tempted of the love-god was in- 
sane, and therefore not responsible for his actions. 
The minister's son performed his master's business 
obediently, without considering causes or asking 
questions a very excellent quality in a dependant 
who is merely required to do as he is bid. With 
respect to the young woman, I have only to say that 
she was a young woman, and thereby of necessity a 
possible murderess. But the Eaja, a prince, a man 
of a certain age and experience, a father of eight ! 
He ought never to have been deceived by so shallow 
a trick, nor should he, without reflection, have 
banished his daughter from the country.' 

* Gramercy to you ! ' cried the Vampire, bursting 
into a discordant shout of laughter, ( I now return 
to my tree. By my tail ! I never yet heard a Kaja 
so readily condemn a Eaja.' 

With these words he slipped out of the cloth, 
leaving it to hang empty over the great king's 

Vikram stood for a moment, fixed to the spot with 
blank dismay. Presently, recovering himself, he 


retraced his steps, followed by liis son, ascended the 
siras-tree, tore down the Baital, packed him up as 
before, and again set out upon his way. 

Soon afterwards a voice sounded behind the war- 
rior king's back, and began to tell another true 




IN the great city of Bhogavati dwelt, once upon a 
time, a young prince, concerning whom I may say 
that he strikingly resembled this amiable son of your 

Raja Yikram was silent, nor did he acknowledge 
the Baital's indirect compliment. He hated flattery, 
but he liked, when flattered, to be flattered in his 
own person ; a feature in their royal patron's cha- 
racter which the Nine Gems of Science had turned 
to their own account. 

Now the young prince Raja Ram (continued the 
tale teller) had an old father, concerning whom I 
may say that he was exceedingly unlike your Raja- 
ship, both as a man and as a parent. He was fond of 
hunting, dicing, sleeping by day, drinking at night, 
and eating perpetual tonics, while he delighted in the 
idleness of watching nautch girls, and the vanity of 
falling in love. But he was adored by his children 
because he took the trouble to win their hearts. He 
did not lay it down as a law of heaven that his off- 
spring would assuredly go to Patala if they neglected 


the duty of bestowing upon him without cause all 
their affections, as your moral, virtuous, and highly 
respectable fathers are only too apt . Aie ! aie ! 

These sounds issued from the Vampire's lips as the 
warrior king, speechless with wrath, passed his hand 
behind his back, and viciously twisted up a pinch of 
the speaker's skin. This caused the Vampire to cry 
aloud, more however, it would appear, in derision 
than in real suffering, for he presently proceeded with 
the same subject. 

Fathers, great king, may be divided into three 
kinds ; and be it said aside, that mothers are the 
same. Firstly, we have the parent of many ideas, 
amusing, pleasant, of course poor, and the idol of 
his children. Secondly, there is the parent with one 
idea and a half. This sort of man would, in your 
place, say to himself, 'That demon-fellow speaks a 
manner of truth. I am not above learning from him, 
despite his position in life. I will carry out his 
theory, just to see how far it goes ; ' and so saying, 
he wends his way home, and treats his young ones 
with prodigious kindness for a time, but it is not 
lasting. Thirdly, there is the real one-idea'd type 
of parent yourself, O warrior king Vikram, an ad- 
mirable example. You learn in youth what you are 
taught : for instance, the blessed precept that the 
green stick is of the trees of Paradise ; and in age 
you practise what you have learned. You cannot 
teach yourselves anything before your beards sprout, 


and when they grow stiff you cannot be taught by 
others. If any one attempt to change your opinions 

you cry, 

What is new is not true, 
What is true is not new, 

and you rudely pull his hand from the subject. Yet 
have you your uses like other things of earth. In 
life you are good working camels for the mill-track, 
and when you die your ashes are not worse compost 
than those of the wise. 

Your Kajaship will observe (continued the Vam- 
pire, as Vikrain began to show symptoms of ungo- 
vernable anger) that I have been concise in treat- 
ing this digression. Had I not been so, it would 
have led me far indeed from my tale. Now to 

When the old king became air mixed with air, 
the young king, though he found hardly ten pieces 
of silver in the paternal treasury and legacies for 
thousands of golden ounces, yet mourned his loss 
with the deepest grief. He easily explained to him- 
self the reckless emptiness of the royal coffers as a 
proof of his dear kind parent's goodness, because he 
loved him. 

But the old man had left behind him, as he could 
not carry it off with him, a treasure more valuable 
than gold and silver : one Churaman, a parrot, who 
knew the world, and who besides discoursed in the 
most correct Sanscrit. By sage counsel and wise 

H 2 


guidance this admirable bird soon repaired his young 
master's shattered fortunes. 

One day the prince said, 'Parrot, thou knowest 
everything : tell me where there is a mate fit for 
me. The shastras inform us, respecting the choice 
of a wife, " She who is not descended from his pater- 
nal or maternal ancestors within the sixth degree is 
eligible by a high caste man for nuptials. In taking 
a wife let him studiously avoid the following families, 
be they ever so great, or ever so rich in kine, goats, 
sheep, gold, or grain : the family which has omitted 
prescribed acts of devotion; that which has pro- 
duced no male children ; that in which the Veda 
(scripture) has not been read; that which has thick 
hair on the body ; and that in which members have 
been subject to hereditary disease. Let a person 
choose for his wife a girl whose person has no defect ; 
who has an agreeable name ; who walks gracefully, 
like a young elephant ; whose hair and teeth are 
moderate in quantity and in size ; and whose body 
is of exquisite softness." ' 

' Great king,' responded the parrot Churaman, 
' there is in the country of Magadh a Eaja, Maga- 
dheshwar by name, and he has a daughter called 
Chandravati. You will marry her ; she is very 
learned, and, what is better far, very fair. She is of 
yellow colour, with a nose like the flower of the 
sesamum ; her legs are taper, like the plantain- 
tree ; her eyes are T arge, like the principal leaf of the 


lotus ; her eye-brows stretch towards her ears ; her lips 
are red, like the young leaves of the inango-tree ; her 
face is like the full moon ; her voice is like the sound 
of the cuckoo ; her arms reach to her knees ; her 
throat is like the pigeon's ; her flanks are thin, like 
those of the lion ; her hair hangs in curls only down 
to her waist; her teeth are like the seeds of the 
pomegranate; and her gait is that of the drunken 
elephant or the goose,' 

On hearing the parrot's speech, the king sent for 
an astrologer, and asked him, ' Whom shall I marry ?' 
The wise man, having consulted his art, replied, 
' Chandravati is the name of the maiden, and 
your marriage with her will certainly take place.' 
Thereupon the young Raja., though he had never 
seen his future queen, became incontinently ; ena- 
moured of her. He summoned a Brahman, and sen,t 
him to King Magadheshwar, saying^ ' If you- arrange, 
satisfactorily this affair of our marriage we will re- 
ward you amply ' a promise which lent wings to the 

Now it so happened that this talented and beau- 
tiful princess had a jay, 1 whose name was Madan- 
manjari or Love-garland. She also possessed ency- 
clopaedic knowledge after her degree, and, like the 
parrot, she spoke excellent Sanscrit. 

Be it briefly said, warrior king for you think 
that I am talking fables that in the days of old, 

1 In the original a ' mama ' the Gracula religiosa. 


men had the art of making birds discourse in 
human language. The invention is attributed to 
a great philosopher, who split their tongues, and 
after many generations produced a selected race 
born with those members split. He altered the shapes 
of their skulls by fixing ligatures behind the occiput, 
which caused the sinciput to protrude, their eyes to 
become prominent, and their brains to master the 
art of expressing thoughts in words. 

But this wonderful discovery, like those of great 
philosophers generally, had in it a terrible practical 
flaw. The birds beginning to speak, spoke wisely 
and so well, they told the truth so persistently, they 
rebuked their brethren of the featherless skins so 
openly, they flattered them so little and they coun- 
selled -th&a so much, that mankind presently grew 
tised of hearing "them discourse. Thus the art gra- 
dually fell into desuetude, and now it is numbered 
with the things that were. 

One day the charming Princess Chandravati was 
sitting in confidential conversation with her jay. 
The dialogue was not remarkable, for maidens in all 
ages seldom consult their confidantes or speculate 
upon the secrets of futurity, or ask to have dreams 
interpreted, except upon one subject. At last the 
princess said, for perhaps the hundredth time that 
month, c Where, jay, is there a husband worthy of 

f Princess,' replied Madan-manjari, ' I am happy 


at length to be able as willing to satisfy your just 
curiosity. For just it is, though the delicacy of our 
sex ' 

' Now, no preaching ! ' said the maiden ; ' or thou 
shalt have salt instead of sugar for supper.' 

Jays, your Rajaship, are fond of sugar. So the 
confidante retained a quantity of good advice which 
she was about to produce, and replied, 

' I now see clearly the ways of Fortune. Raja 
Earn, king of Bhogavati, is to be thy husband. He 
shall be happy in thee and thou in him, for he is 
young and handsome, rich and generous, good- 
tempered, not too clever, and without a chance of 
being an invalid.' 

Thereupon the princess, although she had never 
seen her future husband, at once began to love him. 
In fact, though neither had set eyes upon the other, 
both were mutually in love. 

6 How can that be, sire ? ' asked the young Dharma 
Dhwaj of his father. 'I always thought that 

The great Vikram interrupted his son, and bade 
him not to ask silly questions. Thus he expected to 
neutralise the evil effects of the Baital's doctrine 
touching the amiability of parents unlike himself. 

Now, as both these young people (resumed the 
Baital) were of princely family and well to do in the 
world, the course of their love was unusually smooth. 
When the Brahman sent by Raja Ram had reached 
Magadh, and had delivered his king's homage to the 


Raja Magadheshwar, the latter received liim with 
distinction, and agreed to his proposal. The beauti- 
ful princess's father sent for a Brahman of his own, 
and charging him with nuptial gifts and the cus- 
tomary presents, sent him back to Bhogavati in com- 
pany with the other envoy, and gave him this order, 
6 Greet Raja Ram, on my behalf, and after placing 
the tilak or mark upon his forehead, return here with 
all speed. When you come back I will get all things 
ready for the marriage.' 

Raja Ram, on receiving the deputation, was greatly 
pleased, and after generously rewarding the Brahmans 
and making all the necessary preparations, he set out 
in state for the land of Magadha, to claim his be- 

In due season the ceremony took place with feast- 
ing and bands of music, fireworks and illuminations, 
rehearsals of scripture, songs, entertainments, pro- 
cessions, and abundant noise. And hardly had the 
turmeric disappeared from the beautiful hands and 
feet of the bride, when the bridegroom took an affec- 
tionate leave of his new parents he had not lived 
long in the house and receiving the dowry and the 
bridal gifts, set out for his own country. 

Chandravati was dejected by leaving her mother^ 
and therefore she was allowed to carry with her the 
jay, Madan-manjari. She soon told her husband 
the wonderful way in which she had first heard his 
name, and he related to her the advantage which he 


had derived from confabulation with Churaman, his 

* Then why do we not put these precious creatures 
into one cage, after marrying them according to the 
rites of the angelic marriage (Gandharva-lagana) ? ' 
said the charming queen. Like most brides, she was 
highly pleased to find an opportunity of making a 

' Ay ! why not, love ? Surely they cannot live 
happy in what the world calls single blessedness,' 
replied the young king. As bridegrooms sometimes 
are for a short time, he was very warm upon the 
subject of matrimony. 

Thereupon, without consulting the parties chiefly 
concerned in their scheme, the master and mistress, 
after being comfortably settled at the end of their 
journey, caused a large cage to be brought, and put 
into it both their favourites. 

Upon which Churaman the parrot leaned his head 
on one side and directed a peculiar look at the jay. 
But Madan-manjari raised her beak high in the air, 
puffed through it once or twice, and turned away her 
face in extreme disdain. 

'Perhaps,' quote the parrot, at length breaking 
silence, t you will tell me that you have no desire to 
be married 9 ' 

' Probably,' replied the jay. 

6 And why ? ' asked the male bird. 

* Because I don't choose,' replied the female. 


' Truly a feminine form of resolution this,' ejacu- 
lated the parrot. ' I will borrow my master's words 
and call it a woman's reason, that is to say, no rea- 
son at all. Have you any objection to be more ex- 

6 None whatever,' retorted the jay, provoked by the 
rude innuendo into telling more plainly than politely 
exactly what she thought ; ' none whatever, sir par- 
rot. You he-things are all of you sinful, treacherous, 
deceitful, selfish, devoid of conscience, and accus- 
tomed to sacrifice us, the weaker sex, to your smallest 
desire or convenience.' 

f Of a truth, fair lady,' quoth the young Raja Earn 
to his bride, ' this pet of thine is sufficiently impu- 

'Let her words be as wind in thine ear, master,' 
interrupted the parrot. 'And pray, Mistress Jay, 
what are you she-things but treacherous, false, 
ignorant, and avaricious beings, whose only wish in 
this world is to prevent life being as pleasant as it 
might be ? ' 

c Verily, my love,' said the beautiful Chandravati 
to her bridegroom, c this thy bird has a habit of ex- 
pressing his opinions in a very free and easy way.' 

6 1 can prove what I assert,' whispered the jay in 
the ear of the princess. 

c We can confound their feminine minds by an 
anecdote,' whispered the parrot in the ear of the 


Briefly, King Vikram, it was settled between the 
twain that each should establish the truth of what 
it had advanced by an illustration in the form of a 

Chandravati claimed, and soon obtained, prece- 
dence for the jay. Then the wonderful bird, Madan- 
manjari, began to speak as follows : 

I have often told thee, queen, that before com- 
ing to thy feet, my mistress was Ratnawati, the 
daughter of a rich trader, the dearest, the sweetest 

Here the jay burst into tears, and the mistress 
was sympathetically affected. Presently the speaker 

However, I anticipate. In the city of Hapur there 
was a wealthy merchant, who was without offspring ; 
on this account he was continually fasting and going 
on pilgrimage, and when at home he was ever en- 
gaged in reading the Puranas and in giving alms to 
the Brahmans. 

At length, by favour of the Deity, a son was born 
to this merchant, who celebrated his birth with great 
pomp and rejoicing, and gave large gifts to Brah- 
mans and to bards, and distributed largely to the 
hungry, the thirsty, and the poor. When the boy 
was five years old he had him taught to read, and 
when older he was sent to a guru, who had formerly 
himself been a student, and who was celebrated as 
teacher and lecturer. 


In the course of time the merchant's son grew up. 
Praise be to Bramha ! what a wonderful youth it 
was, with a face like a monkey's, legs like a stork's, 
and a back like a camel's. You know the old pro- 
verb : 

Expect thirty-two -villanies from the limping and eighty from 

the one-eyed man, 
But when the hunchback comes, say ' Lord defend us ! ' 

Instead of going to study, he went to gamble with 
other ne'er-do-weels, to whom he talked loosely, and 
whom he taught to be bad-hearted as himself. He 
made love to every woman, and despite his ugliness, 
he was not unsuccessful. For they are equally fortu- 
nate who are very handsome or very ugly, in so far 
as they are both remarkable and remarked. But the 
latter bear away the palm. Beautiful men begin 
well with women, who do all they can to attract 
them, love them as the apples of their eyes, discover 
them to be fools, hold them to be their equals, de- 
ceive them, and speedily despise them. It is other- 
wise with the ugly man, who, in consequence of his 
homeliness, must work his wits and take pains with 
himself, and become as pleasing as he is capable of 
being, till women forget his ape's face, bird's legs, 
and bunchy back. 

The hunchback, moreover, became a Tantri, so as 
to complete his villanies. He was duly initiated by 
an apostate Brahman, made a declaration that he re- 
nounced all the ceremonies of his old religion, and 


was delivered from their yoke, and proceeded to per- 
form in token of joy an abominable rite. In com- 
pany with eight men and eight women a Brahman 
female, a dancing girl, a weaver's daughter, a woman 
of ill fame, a washerwoman, a barber's wife, a milk- 
maid, and the daughter of a land-owner choosing 
the darkest time of night and the most secret part 
of the house, he drank with them, was sprinkled 
and anointed, and went through many ignoble cere- 
monies, such as sitting nude upon a dead body. The 
teacher informed him that he was not to indulge 
shame, or aversion to anything, nor to prefer one 
thing to another, nor to regard caste, ceremonial 
cleanness or uncleanness, but freely to enjoy all the 
pleasures of sense that is, of course, wine and us, 
since we are the representatives of the wife of Cupid, 
and wine prevents the senses from going astray. 
And whereas holy men, holding that the subjugation 
or annihilation of the passions is essential to final 
beatitude, accomplish this object by bodily austeri- 
ties, and by avoiding temptation, he proceeded to 
blunt the edge of the passions with excessive indul- 
gence. And he jeered at the pious, reminding them 
that their ascetics are safe only in forests, and while 
keeping a perpetual fast ; but that he could subdue 
his passions in the very presence of what they most 

Presently this excellent youth's father died, leav- 
ing him immense wealth. He blunted his passions 


so piously and so vigorously, that in very few years 
his fortune was dissipated. Then he turned towards 
his neighbour's goods and prospered for a time, till 
being discovered robbing, he narrowly escaped the 
stake. At length he exclaimed, ' Let the gods 
perish ! the rascals send me nothing but ill luck ! ' 
and so saying he arose and fled from his own 

Chance led that villain hunchback to the city of 
Chandrapur, where, hearing the name of my master 
Hemgupt, he recollected that one of his father's 
wealthiest correspondents was so called. Thereupon, 
with his usual audacity, he presented himself at the 
house, walked in, and although he was clothed in 
tatters, introduced himself, told his father's name 
and circumstances, and wept bitterly. 

The good man was much astonished, and not less 
grieved, to see the son of his old friend in such 
woful plight. He rose up, however, embraced the 
youth, and asked the reason of his coming. 

' I freighted a vessel,' said the false hunchback, 
' for the purpose of trading to a certain land. 
Having gone there, I disposed of my merchandise, 
and, taking another cargo, I was on my voyage home. 
Suddenly a great storm arose, and the vessel was 
wrecked, and I escaped on a plank, and after a time 
arrived here. But I am ashamed, since I have lost 
all my wealth, and I cannot show my face in this 
plight in my own city. My excellent father would 


have consoled me with his pity. But now that I 
have carried him and my mother to Ganges, 1 every 
one will turn against me; they will rejoice in my 
misfortunes, they will accuse me of folly and reck- 
lessness alas ! alas ! I am truly miserable.' 

My dear master was deceived by the cunning of 
the wretch. He offered him hospitality, which was 
readily enough accepted, and he entertained him for 
some time as a guest. Then, having reason to be 
satisfied with his conduct, Hemgupt admitted him 
to his secrets, and finally made him a partner in his 
business. Briefly, the villain played his cards so 
well, that at last the merchant said to himself, 

' I have had for years an anxiety and a calamity 
in my house. My neighbours whisper things to my 
disadvantage, and those who are bolder speak out 
with astonishment amongst themselves, saying, " At 
seven or eight people marry their daughters, and 
this indeed is the appointment of the law: that 
period is long since gone; she is now thirteen or 
fourteen years old, and she is very tall and lusty, 
resembling a married woman of thirty. How can 
her father eat his rice with comfort and sleep with 
satisfaction, whilst such a disreputable thing exists in 
his house ? At present he is exposed to shame, and 
his deceased friends are suffering through his retain- 
ing a girl from marriage beyond the period which 
nature has prescribed." And now, while I am 

1 As we should say, buried them. 


sitting quietly at home, the Bhagwan (Deity) re- 
moves all my uneasiness : by his favour such an 
opportunity occurs. It is not right to delay. It is 
best that I should give my daughter in marriage 
to him. Whatever can be done to-day is best ; who 
knows what may happen to-morrow ? ' 

Thus thinking, the old man went to his wife and 
said to her, ' Birth, marriage, and death are all 
under the direction of the gods ; can anyone say 
when they will be ours ? We want for our daughter 
a young man who is of good birth, rich and hand- 
some, clever and honourable. But we do not find 
him. If the bridegroom be faulty, thou sayest, all 
will go wrong. I cannot put a string round the 
neck of our daughter and throw her into the ditch. 
If, however, thou think well of the merchant's son 
now my partner, we will celebrate Batnawati's mar- 
riage with him.' 

The wife, who had been won over by the hunch- 
back's hypocrisy, was also pleased, and replied, ' My 
lord ! when the Deity so plainly indicates his wish, 
we should do it ; since, though we have sat quietly 
at home, the desire of our hearts is accomplished. 
It is best that no delay be made ; and, having 
quickly summoned the family priest, and having 
fixed upon a propitious planetary conjunction, that 
the marriage be celebrated.' 

Then they called their daughter ah, me ! what a 
beautiful being she was, and worthy the love of a 


Gandharva (demigod). Her long hair, purple with 
the light of youth, was glossy as the bramra's ! 
wing ; her brow was pure and clear as the agate ; 
the ocean-coral looked pale beside her lips, and her 
teeth were as two chaplets of pearls. Everything in 
her was formed to be loved. Who could look into 
her eyes without wishing to do it again? Who 
could hear her voice without hoping that such music 
would sound once more? And she was good as 
she was fair. Her father adored her ; her mother, 
though a middle-aged woman, was not envious or 
jealous of her; her relatives doted on her, and her 
friends could find no fault with her. I should never 
end were I to tell her precious qualities. Alas, alas ! 
my poor Eatnawati ! 

So saying, the jay wept abundant tears ; then she 
resumed : 

When her parents informed my mistress of their 
resolution, she replied, ' Sadhu it is well ! ' She 
was not like most young women, who hate nothing 
so much as a man whom their seniors order them to 
love. She bowed her head and promised obedience, 
although, as she afterwards told her mother, she 
could hardly look at her intended, on account of his 
prodigious ugliness. But presently the hunchback's 
wit surmounted her disgust. She was grateful to 
him for his attention to her father and mother ; she 
esteemed him for his moral and religious conduct;. 

1 A large kind of black bee, common in Indin 



she pitied him for his misfortunes, and she finished 
with forgetting his face, legs, and back in her admi- 
ration of what she supposed to be his mind. 

She had vowed before marriage faithfully to per- 
form all the duties of a wife, however distasteful to 
her they might be ; but after the nuptials, which 
were not long deferred, she was not surprised to find 
that she loved her husband. Not only did she omit 
to think of his features and figure ; I verily believe 
that she loved him the more for his repulsiveness. 
Ugly, very ugly men prevail over women for two 
reasons. Firstly, we begin with repugnance, which 
in the course of nature turns to affection ; and we 
all like the most that which, when unaccustomed to 
it, we most disliked. Hence the poet says, with as 
much truth as is in the male : 

Never despair, man ! when woman's spite 
Detests thy name and sickens at thy sight: 
Sometime her heart shall learn to love thee more 
For the wild hatred which it felt before, &c. 

Secondly, the very ugly man appears, deceitfully 
enough, to think little of his appearance, and he will 
give himself the trouble to pursue a heart because 
he knows that the heart will not follow after him. 
Moreover, we women (said the jay) are by nature 
pitiful, and this our enemies term a c strange per- 
versity.' A widow is generally disconsolate if she 
loses a little, wizen-faced, shrunken- shanked, ugly, 
spiteful, distempered thing that scolded her and 


quarrelled with her, and beat her and made her 
hours bitter ; whereas she will follow her husband 
to Ganges with exemplary fortitude if he was brave, 
handsome, generous 

' Either hold your tongue or go on with your story,' 
cried the warrior king, in whose mind these remarks 
awakened disagreeable family reflections. 

'Hi! hi! hi!' laughed the demon; 'I will obey 
your majesty, and make Madan-manjari, the misan- 
thropical jay, proceed.' 

Yes, she loved the hunchback ; and how wonderful 
is our love ! quoth the jay. A light from heaven 
which rains happiness on this dull, dark earth ! A 
spell falling upon the spirit, which reminds us of a 
higher existence ! A memory of bliss ! A present 
delight ! An earnest of future felicity ! It makes 
hideousness beautiful and stupidity clever, old age 
young and wickedness good, moroseness amiable, and 
low-mindedness magnanimous, perversity pretty and 
vulgarity piquant. Truly it is sovereign alchemy and 
excellent flux for blending contradictions is our love, 
exclaimed the jay. 

And so saying, she cast a triumphant look at the 
parrot, who only remarked that he could have desired 
a little more originality in her remarks. 

For some months (resumed Madan-manjari), the 
bride and the bridegroom lived happily together in 
Hemgupt's house. But it is said : 

Never yet did the tiger become a lamb ; 
1 2 


and the hunchback felt that the edge of his passions 
again wanted blunting. He reflected, 'Wisdom is ex- 
emption from attachment, and affection for children, 
wife, and home.' Then he thus addressed my poor 
young mistress : 

c I have been now in thy country some years, and 
I have heard no tidings of my own family, hence my 
mind is sad. I have told thee everything about 
myself; thou must now ask thy mother leave for me 
to go to my own city, and, if thou wishest, thou 
mayest go with me.' 

Eatnawati lost no time in saying to her mother, 
c My husband wishes to visit his own country ; will 
you so arrange that he may not be pained about this 
matter ?' 

The mother went to her husband, and said, f Your 
son-in-law desires leave to go to his own country.' 

Hemgupt replied, ( Very well ; we will grant him 
leave. One has no power over another man's son. 
We will do what he wishes.' 

The parents then called their daughter, and asked 
her to tell them her real desire whether she would 
go to her father-in-law's house, or would remain in 
her mother's home. She was abashed at this question, 
and could not answer; but she went back to her 
husband, and said, ' As my father and mother have 
declared that you should do as you like, do not leave 
me behind.' 

Presently the merchant summoned his son-in-law, 



and having bestowed great wealth upon him, allowed 
him to depart. He also bade his daughter farewell, 
after giving her a palanquin and a female slave. And 
the parents took leave of them with wailing and 
bitter tears ; their hearts were like to break. And 
so was mine. 

For some days the hunchback travelled quietly 
along with his wife, in deep thought. He could not 

He dismissed the palanquin-bearers. 

take her to his city, where she would find out his evil 
life, and the fraud which he had passed upon her father. 
Besides which, although he wanted her money, he by 
no means wanted her company for life. After turning 
on many projects in his evil-begotten mind, he hit 
upon the following : 


He dismissed the palanquin-bearers when halting- 
at a little shed in the thick jungle through which 
they were travelling, and said to his wife, ' This is a 
place of danger ; give me thy jewels, and I will hide 
them in my waist-shawl. When thou reachest the 
city thou canst wear them again.' She then gave up 
to him all her ornaments, which were of great value. 
Thereupon he inveigled the slave girl into the depths 
of the forest, where he murdered her, and left her 
body to be devoured by wild beasts. Lastly, returning 
to my poor mistress, he induced her to leave the hut 
with him, and pushed her by force into a dry well, 
after which exploit he set out alone with his ill- 
gotteii wealth, walking towards his own city. 

In the meantime, a wayfaring man, who was passing 
through that jungle, hearing the sound of weeping, 
stood still, and began to say to himself, How came 
to my ears the voice of a mortal's grief in this wild 
wood ?' He then followed the direction of the noise, 
which led him to a pit, and peeping over the side, he 
saw a woman crying at the bottom. The traveller 
at once loosened his girdle cloth, knotted it to his 
turban, and letting down the line pulled out the poor 
bride. He asked her who she was, and how she came 
to fall into that well. She replied, c I am the daughter 
of Hemgupt, the wealthiest merchant in the city of 
Chandrapur ; and I was journeying with my husband 
to his own country, when robbers set upon us and 
surrounded us. They slew my slave girl, they threw 

lie set out alone with his ill-gotten wealth. 


me into a well, and having bound my husband they 
took him away, together with my jewels. I have no 
tidings of him, nor he of me.' And so saying, she 
burst into tears and lamentations. 

The wayfaring man believed her tale, and conducted 
her to her home, where she gave the same account 
of the accident which had befallen her, ending with, 
1 Beyond this, I know not if they have killed my 
husband, or have let him go.' The father thus soothed 
her grief: 'Daughter! have no anxiety; thy hus- 
band is alive, and by the will of the Deity he will come 
to thee in a few days. Thieves take men's money, 
not their lives.' Then the parents presented her with 
ornaments more precious than those which she had 
lost ; and summoning their relations and friends, 
they comforted her to the best of their power. And 
so did I. 

The wicked hunchback had, meanwhile, returned 
to his own city, where he was excellently well received, 
because he brought much wealth with him. His 
old associates nocked around him rejoicing ; and he 
fell into the same courses which had beggared him 
before. Gambling and debauchery soon blunted his 
passions, and emptied his purse. Again his boon 
companions, finding him without a broken cowrie, 
drove him from their doors ; he stole, and was flogged 
for theft ; and lastly, half famished, he fled the city. 
Then he said to himself, ' I must go to my father-in- 
law, and make the excuse that a grandson has been 


born to him, and that I have come to offer him 
congratulations on the event.' 

Imagine, however, his fears and astonishment 
when, as he entered the house, his wife stood before 
him. At first he thought it was a ghost, and turned 
to run away, but she went out to him and said, 
( Husband, be not troubled ! I have told my father 
that thieves came upon us, and killed the slave girl 
and robbed me and threw me into a well, and bound 
thee and carried thee off. Tell the same story, and 
put away all anxious feelings. Come up and change 
thy tattered garments alas ! some misfortune hath 
befallen thee. But console thyself ; all is now well, 
since thou art returned to me, and fear not, for the 
house is thine, and I am thy slave.' 

The wretch, with all his hardness of heart, could 
scarcely refrain from tears. He followed his wife to 
her room, where she washed his feet, caused him to 
bathe, dressed him in new clothes, and placed food 
before him. When her parents returned, she pre- 
sented him to their embrace, saying in a glad way, 
Eejoice with me, O my father and mother ! the rob- 
bers have at length allowed him to come back to iis.' 
Of course the parents were deceived ; they are mostly 
a purblind race ; and Hemgupt, showing great favour 
to his worthless son-in-law, exclaimed, e Remain with 
us, my son, and be happy ! ' 

For two or three months the hunchback lived 
quietly with his wife, treating her kindly and even 


affectionately. But this did not last long. He made 
acquaintance with a band of thieves, and arranged 
his plans with them. 

After a time, his wife one night came to sleep by 
his side, having put on all her jewels. At midnight, 
when he saw that she was fast asleep, he struck her 
with a knife so that she died. Then he admitted 
his accomplices, who savagely murdered Hemgupt 
and his wife ; and with their assistance he carried 
off any valuable article upon which he could lay his 
hands. The ferocious wretch ! As he passed my 
cage he looked at it, and thought whether he had 
time to wring my neck. The barking of a dog saved 
my life ; but my mistress, my poor Katnawati ah, 
me ! ah, me ! 

6 Queen,' said the jay, in deepest grief, ' all this 
have I seen with mine own eyes, and have heard 
with mine own ears. It affected me in early life, 
and gave me a dislike for the society of the other 
sex. With due respect to you, I have resolved to 
remain an old maid. Let your majesty reflect, 
what crime had my poor mistress committed? A 
male is of the same disposition as a highway rob- 
ber; and she who forms friendship with such a 
one, cradles upon her bosom a black and venomous 

' Sir Parrot,' said the jay, turning to her wooer, * I 
have spoken. I have nothing more to say bat that 
you he-things are all a treacherous, selfish, wicked 


race, created for the express purpose of working our 
worldly woe, and ' 

' When a female, my king, asserts that she has 
nothing more to say, but,' broke in Churaman, the 
parrot, with a loud dogmatical voice, ' I know that 
what she has said merely whets her tongue for what 
she is about to say. This person has surely spoken 
long enough and drearily enough.' 

' Tell me then, O parrot,' said the king, ' what 
faults there may be in the other sex.' 

' I will relate,' quoth Churaman, 6 an occurrence 
which in my early youth determined me to live and 
to die an old bachelor.' 

When quite a young bird, and before my schooling 
began, I was caught in the land of Malaya, and 
was sold to a very rich merchant called Sagardati, a 
widower with one daughter, the lady Jayashri. As 
her father spent all his days and half his nights in 
his counting-house, conning his ledgers and scolding 
his writers, that young woman had more liberty 
than is generally allowed to those of her age, and a 
mighty bad use she made of it. 

king ! men commit two capital mistakes in 
rearing the 'domestic calamity,' and these are 
over-vigilance and under-vigilance. Some parents 
never lose sight of their daughters, suspect them of 
all evil intentions, and are silly enough to show their 
suspicions, which is an incentive to evil doing. For 
the weak-minded things do naturally say, f I will be 


wicked at once. What do I now but suffer all the 
pains and penalties of badness, without enjoying its 
pleasures ? ' And so they are guilty of many evil 
actions; for, however vigilant fathers and mothers 
may be, the daughter can always blind their eyes. 

On the other hand, many parents take no trouble 
whatever with their charges : they allow them to sit 
in idleness, the origin of badness ; they permit them 
to communicate with the wicked, and they give them 
liberty which breeds opportunity. Thus they also, 
falling into the snares of the unrighteous, who are 
ever a more painstaking race than the righteous, are 
guilty of many evil actions. 

What, then, must wise parents do ? The wise will 
study the characters of their children, and modify 
their treatment accordingly. If a daughter be natu- 
rally good, she will be treated with a prudent confi- 
dence. If she be vicious, an apparent trust will be 
reposed in her; but her father and mother will 
secretly ever be upon their guard. The one-idea'd 

6 All this parrot-prate, I suppose, is only intended 
to vex me,' cried the warrior king, who always con- 
sidered himself, and very naturally, a person of such 
consequence as ever to be uppermost in the thoughts 
and minds of others. ' If thou must tell a tale, then 
tell one, Vampire ! or else be silent, as I ani sick to 
the death of thy psychics.' 

'It is well, O warrior king,' resumed the Baital. 
After that Churainan the parrot had given the young 


Kaja Earn a golden mine full of good advice about 
the management of daughters, he proceeded to de- 
scribe Jayashri. 

She was tall, stout, and well made, of lymphatic 
temperament, and yet strong passions. Her fine 
large eyes had heavy and rather full eyelids, which 
are to be avoided. Her hands were symmetrical 
without being small, and the palms were ever warm 
and damp. Though her lips were good, her mouth 
was somewhat underhung; and her voice was so 
deep, that at times it sounded like that of a man. 
Her hair was smooth as the kokila's plume, and her 
complexion was that of the young jasmine ; and 
these were the points at which most persons looked. 
Altogether, she was neither handsome nor ugly, 
which is an excellent thing in woman. Sita the 
goddess l was lovely to excess ; therefore she was 
carried away by a demon. Eaja Bali was exceed- 
ingly generous, and he emptied his treasury. In 
this way, exaggeration, even of good, is exceedingly 

Yet must I confess, continued the parrot, that, as 
a rule, the beautiful woman is more virtuous than 
the ugly. The former is often tempted, but her 
vanity and conceit enable her to resist, by the self- 
promise that she shall be tempted again and again, 
On the other hand, the ugly woman must tempt 
instead of being tempted, and she must yield, be- 

1 The beautiful wife of the demigod Kama Chandra. 


cause her vanity and conceit are gratified by yield- 
ing, not by resisting. 

' Ho, there ! ' broke in the jay, contemptuously. 
'What woman cannot win the hearts of the silly 
things called men ? Is it not said that a pig- faced 
female who dwells in Landanpur has a lover ? ' 

I was about to remark, my king ! said the parrot, 
somewhat nettled, if the aged virgin had not inter- 
rupted me, that as ugly women are more vicious 
than handsome women, so they are more successful. 
6 We love the pretty, we adore the plain, 3 is a true 
saying amongst the worldly wise. And why do we 
adore the plain ? Because they seem to think less 
of themselves than of us a vital condition of ado- 

Jayashri made some conquests by the portion of 
good looks which she possessed, more by her impu- 
dence, and most by her father's reputation for 
riches. She was truly shameless, and never allowed 
herself less than half a dozen admirers at the time. 
Her chief amusement was to appoint interviews with 
them successively, at intervals so short that she was 
obliged to hurry away one in order to make room 
for another. And when a lover happened to be 
jealous, or ventured in any way to criticise her 
arrangements, she replied at once by showing him 
the door. Answer unanswerable ! 

When Jayashri had reached the ripe age of thir- 
teen, the son of a merchant, who was her father's 


gossip and neighbour, returned home after a long 
sojourn in far lands, whither he had travelled in the 
search of wealth. The poor wretch, whose name, by 
the bye, was Shridat (Gift of Fortune), had loved her 
in her childhood ; and he came back, as men are apt 
to do after absence from familiar scenes, painfully 
full of affection for house and home and all be- 
longing to it. From his cross stingy old uncle to 
the snarling superannuated beast of a watchdog, 
he viewed all with eyes of love aixd melting heart. 
He could not see that his idol was greatly changed, 
and nowise for the better ; that her nose was broader 
and more club-like, her eyelids fatter and thicker, 
her under lip more prominent, her voice harsher, 
and her manner coarser. He did not notice that 
she was an adept in judging of men's dress, and 
that she looked with admiration upon all swords- 
men, especially upon those who fought on horses 
and elephants. The charm of memory, the curious 
faculty of making past time present, caused all he 
viewed to be enchanting to him. 

Having obtained her father's permission, Shridat 
applied for betrothal to Jayashri, who, with peculiar 
boldness, had resolved that no suitor should come 
to her through her parent. And she, after leading 
him on by all the coquetries of which she was a 
mistress, refused to marry him, saying that she 
liked him as a friend, but would hate him as a 


You see, my king ! there are three several states 
of feeling with which women regard their masters, 
and these are love, hate, and indifference. Of all, 
love is the weakest and the most transient, because 
the essentially unstable creatures naturally fall out 
of it as readily as they fall into it. Hate being a 
sister excitement will easily become, if man has wit 
enough to effect the change, love; and hate-love 
may perhaps last a little longer than love-love. 
Also, man has the occupation, the excitement, and 
the pleasure of bringing about the change. As re- 
gards the neutral state, that poet was not happy in 
his ideas who sang, 

Whene'er indifference appears, or scorn, 

Then, man, despair ! then, hapless lover, mourn ! 

For a man versed in the Lila Shastra 1 can soon 
turn a woman's indifference into hate, which I have 
shown is as easily permuted to love. In which pre- 
dicament it is the old thing over again, and it ends 
in the pure Asat 2 or nonentity. 

' Which of these two birds, the jay or the parrot, 
had dipped deeper into human nature, mighty King 
Vikram?' asked the demon in a wheedling tone of 

The trap was this time set too openly, even for 
the royal personage to fall into it. He hurried on, 

1 The Hindu Ars 

2 The old philosophers, believing in a ' Sat ' (T& 6v\ postulated an 
Asat (rb pi) ov) and made the latter the root of the former. 


calling to his son, and not answering a word. The 
Yampire therefore resumed the thread of his story 
at the place where he had broken it off. 

Shridat was in despair when he heard the resolve 
of his idol. He thought of drowning himself, of 
throwing himself down from the summit of Mount 
Girnar, 1 of becoming a religious beggar; in short, 
of a multitude of follies. But he refrained from all 
such heroic remedies for despair, having rightly 
judged, when he became somewhat calmer, that they 
would not be likely to further his suit. He dis- 
covered that patience is a virtue, and he resolved 
impatiently enough to practise it. And by perseve- 
rance he succeeded. The worse for him ! How vain 
are men to wish ! How wise is the Deity, who is 
deaf to their wishes ! 

Jayashri, for potent reasons best known to herself, 
was married to Shridat six months after his return 
home. He was in raptures. He called himself the 
happiest man in existence. He thanked and sacri- 
ficed to the Bhagwan for listening to his prayers. 
He recalled to niiiid with thrilling heart the long 
years which he had spent in hopeless exile from all 
that was dear to him ; his sadness and anxiety, his 
hopes and joys, his toils and troubles, his loyal love 
and his vows to Heaven for the happiness of his 
idol, and for the furtherance of his fondest desires. 

For truly he loved her, continued the parrot, and 

1 In Western India, a place celebrated for suicides. 


there is something holy in such love. It becomes 
not only a faith, but the best of faiths an abnega- 
tion of self which emancipates the spirit from its 
straightest and earthliest bondage, the e I ; ' the first 
step in the regions of heaven; a homage rendered 
through the creature to the Creator ; a devotion 
solid, practical, ardent, not as worship mostly is, a 
cold and lifeless abstraction ; a merging of human 
nature into one far nobler and higher, the spiritual 
existence of the supernal world. For perfect love is 
perfect happiness, and the only perfection of man ; 
and what is a demon but a being without love? 
And what makes man's love truly divine, is the 
fact that it is bestowed upon such a thing as 

' And now, Raja Yikram,' said the Vampire, speak- 
ing in his proper person, ' I have given you Madan- 
manjari the jay's and Churaman the parrot's de- 
finitions of the tender passion, or rather their 
descriptions of its effects. Kindly observe that I 
am far from accepting either one or the other. Love 
is, according to me, somewhat akin to mania, a 
temporary condition of selfishness, a transient con- 
fusion of identity. It enables man to predicate of 
others who are his other selves, that which he is 
ashamed to say about his real self. I will suppose 
the beloved object to be ugly, stupid, vicious, per- 
verse, selfish, low-minded, or the reverse ; man finds 
it charming by the same rule that makes his faults 


and foibles dearer to him than all the virtues and 
good qualities of his neighbours. Ye call love a spell, 
an alchemy, a deity. Why? Because it deifies self 
by gratifying all man's pride, man's vanity, and 
man's conceit, under the mask of complete unego- 
tism. Who is not in heaven when he is talking of 
himself? and, prithee, of what else consists all the 
talk of lovers ? ' 

Tt is astonishing that the warrior king allowed 
this speech to last as long as it did. He hated 
nothing so fiercely, now that he was in middle age, 
as any long mention of the ' handsome god.' l Having 
vainly endeavoured to stop by angry mutterings the 
course of the Baital's eloquence, he stepped out so 
vigorously and so rudely shook that inveterate talker, 
that the latter once or twice nearly bit off the tip of 
his tongue. Then the Yampire became silent, and 
Vikram relapsed into a walk which allowed the tale 
to be resumed. 

Jayashri immediately conceived a strong dislike 
for her husband, and simultaneously a fierce affec- 
tion for a reprobate who before had been indifferent 
to her. The more lovingly Shridat behaved to her, 
the more vexed and annoyed she was. When her 
friends talked to her, she turned up her nose, raising 
her eyebrows (in token of displeasure), and re- 
mained silent. When her husband spoke words of 

1 Kama Deva. ' Out on thee, foul fiend, talk'st thou of nothing but 
adies ? ' 


affection to her, she found them disagreeable, and 
turning away her face, reclined on the bed. Then 
he brought dresses and ornaments of various kinds 
and presented them to her, saying, ' Wear these.' 
Whereupon she would become more angry, knit her 
brows, turn her face away, and in an audible whisper 
call him ' fool. 5 All day she stayed out of the house, 
saying to her companions, ' Sisters, my youth is 
passing away, and I have not, up to the present 
time, tasted any of this world's pleasures.' Then 
she would ascend to the balcony, peep through the 
lattice, and seeing the reprobate going along, she 
would cry to her friend, ' Bring that person to me.' 
All night she tossed and turned from side to side, 
reflecting in her heart, ' I am puzzled in my mind 
what I shall say, and whither I shall go. I have 
forgotten sleep, hunger, and thirst ; neither heat nor 
cold is refreshing to me.' 

At last, unable any longer to support the separa- 
tion from her reprobate paramour, whom she adored, 
she resolved to fly with him. On one occasion, 
when she thought that her husband was fast asleep, 
she rose up quietly, and leaving him, made her way 
fearlessly in the dark night to her lover's a,bode. A 
footpad, who saw her on the way, thought to himself, 
* Where can this woman, clothed in jewels, be going 
alone at midnight ? ' And thus he followed her un- 
seen, and watched her. 

When Jayashri reached the intended place, she 


went into the house, and found her lover lying at 
the door. He was dead, having been stabbed by the 
footpad; but she, thinking that he had, according 
to custom, drunk intoxicating hemp, sat upon the 
floor, and raising his head, placed it tenderly in her 
lap. Then, burning with the fire of separation from 
him, she began to kiss his cheeks, and to fondle 
and caress him with the utmost freedom and affec- 

By chance a Pisach (evil spirit) was seated in a 
large fig-tree 1 opposite the house, and it occurred 
to him, when beholding this scene, that he might 
amuse himself in a characteristic way. He therefore 
hopped down from his branch, vivified the body, 
and began to return the woman's caresses. But as 
Jayashri bent down to kiss his lips, he caught the 
end of her nose in his teeth, and bit it clean off. 
He then issued from the corpse, and returned to the 
branch where he had been sitting. 

Jayashri was in despair. She did not, however, 
lose her presence of mind, but sat down and pro- 
ceeded to take thought ; and when she had matured 
her plan she arose, dripping with blood, and walked 
straight home to her husband's house. On entering 
his room she clapped her hand to her nose, and 
began to gnash her teeth, and to shriek so violently, 
that all the members of the family were alarmed. 
The neighbours also collected in numbers at the 

1 The pipal or Ficus rdigiosa, a favourite roosting place for fiends. 


door, and, as it was bolted inside, they broke it open 
and rushed in, carrying lights. There they saw the 
wife sitting upon the ground with her face mutilated, 
and the husband standing over her, apparently try- 
ing to appease her. 

' ignorant, criminal, shameless, pitiless wretch !' 
cried the people, especially the women ; ' why hast 
thou cut off her nose, she not having offended in any 

Poor Shridat, seeing at once the trick which had 
been played upon him, thought to himself: 'One 
should put no confidence in a changeful mind, a 
black serpent, or an armed enemy, and one should 
dread a woman's doings. What cannot a poet de- 
scribe ? What is there that a saint (jogi) does not 
know? What nonsense will not a drunken man 
talk ? What limit is there to a woman's guile ? 
True it is that the gods know nothing of the defects' 
of a horse, of the thundering of clouds, of a woman's 
deeds, or of a man's future fortunes. How then 
can we know ? ' He could do nothing but weep, and 
swear by the herb basil, by his cattle, by his grain, 
by a piece of gold, and by all that is holy, that he 
had not committed the crime. 

In the meanwhile, the old merchant, Jayashri's 
father, ran off, and laid a complaint before the 
kotwal, and the footmen of the police magistrate 
were immediately sent to apprehend the husband, 
and to carry him bound before the judge. The 


latter, after due examination, laid the affair before 
the king. An example happening to be necessary 
at the time, the king resolved to punish the offence 
with severity, and he summoned the husband and 
wife to the court. 

When the merchant's daughter was asked to give 
an account of what had happened, she pointed out 
the state of her nose, and said, c Maharaj ! why 
enquire of me concerning what is so manifest ? ' The 
king then turned to the husband, and bade him state 
his defence. He said, ' I know nothing of it,' and 
in the face of the strongest evidence he persisted in 
denying his guilt. 

Thereupon the king, who had vainly threatened to 
cut off Shridat's right hand, infuriated by his re- 
fusing to confess and to beg for mercy, exclaimed, 
' How must I punish such a wretch as thou art ? ' 
The unfortunate man answered, 'Whatever your 
majesty may consider just, that be pleased to do.' 
Thereupon the king cried, 'Away with him, and 
impale him ;' and the people, hearing the command, 
prepared to obey it. 

Before Shridat had left the court, the footpad, 
who had been looking on, and who saw that an 
innocent man was about to be unjustly punished, 
raised a cry for justice, and, pushing through the 
crowd, resolved to make himself heard. He thus 
addressed the throne : c Great king, the cherishing 
of the good, and the punishment of the bad, is the 


invariable duty of kings.' The ruler having caused 
him to approach, asked him who he was, and he 
replied boldly, Maharaj ! I am a thief, and this 
man is innocent, and his blood is about to be shed 
unjustly. Your majesty has not done what is right 
in this affair.' Thereupon the king charged him to 
tell the truth according to his religion ; and the 
thief related explicitly the whole circumstances, 
omitting, of course, the murder. 

' Go ye,' said the king to his messengers, 6 and 
look in the mouth of the woman's lover who has 
fallen dead. If the nose be there found, then has 
this thief- witness told the truth, and the husband is 
a guiltless man.' 

The nose was presently produced in court, and 
Shridat escaped the stake. The king caused the 
wicked Jayashri's face to be smeared with oily soot, 
and her head and eyebrows to be shaved ; thus 
blackened and disfigured, she was mounted upon a 
little ragged-limbed ass, and was led around the 
market and the streets, after which she was banished 
for ever from the city. The husband and the thief 
were then dismissed with betel and other gifts, 
together with much sage advice, which neither of 
them wanted. 

' My king,' resumed the misogyne parrot, ' of such 
excellencies as these are women composed. It is 
said that "wet cloth will extinguish fire and bad 
food will destroy strength ; a degenerate son ruins a 


family, and when a friend is in wrath he takes away 
life. But a woman is an inflicter of grief in love and 
in hate ; whatever she does turns out to be for our 
ill. Truly the Deity has created woman a strange 
being in this world." And again, "The beauty of 
the nightingale is its song, science is the beauty of 
an ugly man, forgiveness is the beauty of a devotee, 
and the beauty of a woman is virtue but where 
shall we find it ? " And again, " Among the sages, 
Narudu ; among the beasts, the jackal ; among the 
birds, the crow ; among men, the barber ; and in this 
world woman is the most crafty." 

' What I have told thee, my king, I have seen with 
mine own eyes, and I have heard with mine own 
ears. At the time I was young, but the event so 
affected me that I have ever since held female kind 
to be a walking pest, a two-legged plague, whose 
mission on earth, like flies and other vermin, is only 
to prevent our being too happy. O, why do not 
children and young parrots sprout in crops from the 
ground from budding trees or vine-stocks ? ' 

6 1 was thinking, sire,' said the young Dharma 
Dhwaj to the warrior king his father, ' what women 
would say of us if they could compose Sanskrit 
verses ! ' 

4 Then keep your thoughts to yourself,' replied the 
Raja, nettled at his son daring to say a word in 
favour of the sex. 'You always take the part of 
wickedness and depravity ' 


c Permit me, your majesty,' interrupted the Baital, 
' to conclude my tale.' 

When Madan-manjari, the jay, and Churaman, the 
parrot, had given these illustrations of their belief, 
they began to wrangle, and words ran high. The 
former insisted that females are the salt of the 
earth, speaking, I presume, figuratively. The latter 
went so far as to assert that the opposite sex have 
no souls, and that their brains are in a rudimental 
and inchoate state of development. Thereupon he 
was tartly taken to task by his master's bride, the 
beautiful Chandravati, who told him that those only 
have a bad opinion of women who have associated 
with none but the vicious and the low, and that he 
should be ashamed to abuse feminine parrots, because 
his mother had been one. 

This was truly logical. 

On the other hand, the jay was sternly reproved 
for her mutinous and treasonable assertions by the 
husband of her mistress, Eaja Earn, who, although 
still a bridegroom, had not forgotten the gallant rule 
of his syntax 

The masculine is more worthy than the feminine ; 

till Madan-manjari burst into tears and declared that 
her life was not worth having. And Eaja Earn looked 
at her as if he could have wrung her neck. 

In short, Eaja Vikram, all the four lost their tem- 
pers, and with them what little wits they had. Two 


of them were but birds, and the others seem not to 
have been much better, being young, ignorant, inex- 
perienced, and lately married. How then could they 
decide so difficult a question as that of the relative 
wickedness and villany of men and women? Had 
your majesty been there, the knot of uncertainty 
would soon have been undone by the trenchant edge 
of your wit and wisdom, your knowledge and ex- 
perience. You have, of course, long since made up 
your mind upon the subject ? 

Dharma Dhwaj would have prevented his father's 
reply. But the youth had been twice reprehended 
in the course of this tale, and he thought it wisest to 
let things take their own way. 

' Women,' quoth the Eaja, oracularly, c are worse 
than we are ; a man, however depraved he may be, 
ever retains some notion of right and wrong, but a 
woman does not. She has no such regard whatever.' 

e The beautiful Bangalah Eani for instance ? ' said 
the Baital, with a demonic sneer. 

At the mention of a word, the uttering of which 
was punishable by extirpation of the tongue, Eaja 
Vikram's brain whirled with rage. He staggered in 
the violence of his passion, and putting forth both 
hands to break his fall, he dropped the bundle from 
his back. Then the Baital, disentangling himself 
and laughing lustily, ran off towards the tree as fast 
as his thin brown legs could carry him. But his 
activity availed him little. 

The king, puffing with fury, followed him at the top of his speed, 
and caught him by his tail. 


The king, puffing with fury, followed him at the 
top of his speed, and caught him by his tail before 
he reached the siras-tree, hurled him backwards with 
force, put foot upon his chest, and after shaking out 
the cloth, rolled him up in it with extreme violence, 
bumped his back half a dozen times against the stony 
ground, and finally, with a jerk, threw him on his 
shoulder, as he had done before. 

The young prince, afraid to accompany his father 
whilst he was pursuing the fiend, followed slowly in 
the rear, and did not join him for some minutes. 

But when matters were in their normal state, the 
Vampire, who had endured with exemplary patience 
the penalty of his impudence, began in honeyed ac- 

c Listen, warrior king, whilst thy servant recounts 
unto thee another true tale.' 




IN the venerable city of Bardwan, O warrior king ! 
(quoth the Yampire) during the reign of the mighty 
Eupsen, flourished one Eajeshwar, a Eajput warrior 
of distinguished fame. By his valour and conduct he 
had risen from the lowest ranks of the army to com- 
mand it as its captain. And arrived at that dignity, 
he did not put a stop to all improvements, like other 
chiefs, who rejoice to rest and return thanks. On 
the contrary, he became such a reformer that, to some 
extent, he remodelled the art of war. 

Instead of attending to rules and regulations, 
drawn up in their studies by pandits and Brahmans, 
he consulted chiefly his own experience and judg- 
ment. He threw aside the systematic plans of cam- 
paigns laid down in the Shastras or books of the 
ancients, and he acted upon the spur of the moment. 
He displayed a skill in the choice of ground, in the 
use of light troops, and in securing his own supplies 
whilst he cut off those of the enemy, which Kartikaya 
himself, God of War, might have envied. Finding 
that the bows of his troops were clumsy and slow to 


use, he had them all changed before compelled so to 
do by defeat ; he also gave his attention to the sword 
handles, which cramped the men's grasp, but which 
having been used for eighteen hundred years, were 
considered perfect weapons. And having organised a 
special corps of warriors using fire arrows, he soon 
brought it to such perfection that, by using it against 
the elephants of his enemies, he gained many a cam- 

One instance of his superior judgment I am about 
to quote to thee, O Vikram, after which I return to my 
tale ; for thou art truly a warrior king, very likely to 
imitate the innovations of the great general Rajesh- 

(A grunt from the monarch was the result of the 
Vampire's sneer.) 

He found his master's armies recruited from 
Northern Hindostan, and omcered by Kshatriya war- 
riors, who grew great only because they grew old and 
fat. Thus the energy and talent of the younger 
men were wasted in troubles and disorders ; whilst 
the seniors were often so ancient that they could not 
mount their chargers unaided, nor, when they were 
mounted, could they see anything a dozen yards before 
them. But they had served in a certain obsolete cam- 
paign, and until Eajeshwar gave them pensions and 
dismissals, they claimed a right to take first part in all 
campaigns present and future. The commander-in- 
chief refused to use any captain who could not stand 


steady on his legs, or endure the sun for a whole 
day. When a soldier distinguished himself in action, 
he raised him to the powers and privileges of the 
warrior caste. And whereas it had been the habit to 
lavish circles and bars of silver and other metals 
upon all those who had joined in the war, whether 
they had sat behind a heap of sand or had been fore- 
most to attack the foe, he broke through the pernicious 
custom, and he rendered the honour valuable by con- 
ferring it only upon the deserving. I need hardly 
say that, in an inordinately short L space of time, his 
army beat every king and general that opposed it. 

One day the great commander-in-chief was seated 
in a certain room near the threshold of his gate, 
when the voices of a number of people outside were 
heard. Eajeshwar asked, ' Who is at the door, and 
what is the meaning of the noise I hear?' The por- 
ter replied, ' It is a fine thing your honour has asked. 
Many persons come sitting at the door of the rich 
for the purpose of obtaining a livelihood and wealth. 
When they meet together they talk of various things : 
it is these very people who are now making this 

Eajeshwar, on hearing this, remained silent. 

In the meantime a traveller, a Eajput, Birbal by 
name, hoping to obtain employment, came from the 
southern quarter to the palace of the chief. The 
porter having listened to his story, made the circum- 
stance known to his master, saying, C chief! an 



armed man has arrived here, hoping to obtain em- 
ployment, and is standing at the door. If I receive 
a command he shall be brought into your honour's 

6 Bring him in,' cried the commander-in-chief. 

In the meantime a traveller, a llajput, by name Birbal. 

The porter brought him in, and Eajeshwar in- 
quired, ' Rajput, who and what art thou ? ' 

Birbal submitted that he was a person of distin- 
guished fame for the use of weapons, and that his 
name for fidelity and valour had gone forth to the 
utmost ends of Bharat-Kandha. 1 

The chief was well accustomed to this style of self- 

1 India. 


introduction, and its only effect upon his mind was 
a wish, to shame the man by showing him that he 
had not the least knowledge of weapons. He there- 
fore bade him bare his blade and perform some feat. 

Birbal at once drew his good sword. Guessing 
the thoughts which were hovering about the chief's 
mind, he put forth his left hand, extending the fore- 
finger upwards, waved his blade like the arm of a 
demon round his head, and, with a dexterous stroke, 
so shaved off a bit of nail that it fell to the ground, 
and not a drop of blood appeared upon the finger- 

c Live for ever ! ' exclaimed Rajeshwar in admira- 
tion. He then addressed to the recruit a few ques- 
tions concerning the art of war, or rather concerning 
his peculiar views of it. To all of which Birbal 
answered with a spirit and a judgment which con- 
vinced the hearer that he was no common sworder. 

Whereupon Rajeshwar bore off the new man at arms 
to the palace of the king Rupsen, and recommended 
that he should be engaged without delay. 

The king, being a man of few words and many 
ideas, after hearing his commander-in-chief, asked, 
( Rajput, what shalt I give thee for thy daily ex- 
penditure ? ' 

6 Give me a thousand ounces of gold daily,' said 
Birbal, 'and then I shall have wherewithal to live 

' Hast thou an army with thee ? ' exclaimed the 
king in the greatest astonishment. 


'I have not,' responded the Rajput somewhat stiffly. 
' I have first, a wife ; second, a son ; third, a daugh- 
ter; fourth, myself; there is no fifth person with 

All the people of the court on hearing this turned 
aside their heads to laugh, and even the women, who 
were peeping at the scene, covered their mouths with 
their veils. The Eajput was then dismissed the pre- 

It is, however, noticeable amongst you humans, 
that the world often takes you at your own valuation. 
Set a high price upon yourselves, and each man 
shall say to his neighbour, ' In this man there must 
be something.' Tell every one that you are brave, 
clever, generous, or even handsome, and after a time 
they will begin to believe you. And when thus you 
have attained success, it will be harder to uncon- 

vince them than it was to convince them. Thus 

6 Listen not to him, sirrah,' cried Eaja Vikram to 
Dharma Dhwaj, the young prince, who had fallen a 
little way behind, and was giving ear attentively to 
the Vampire's ethics. ' Listen to him not. And tell 
me, villain, with these ignoble principles of thine, 
what will become of modesty, humility, self-sacrifice, 
and a host of other Guna or good qualities which 
which are good qualities ? ' 

' I know not,' rejoined the Baital, f neither do I 
care. But my habitually inspiriting a succession of 
human bodies has taught me one fact. The wise 


man knows himself, and is, therefore, neither unduly 
humble or elated, because he had no more to do with 
making himself than with the cut of his cloak, or 
with the fitness of his loin-cloth. But the fool either 
loses his head by comparing himself with still greater 
fools, or is prostrated when he finds himself inferior 
to other and lesser fools. This shyness he calls mo- 
desty, humility, and so forth. Now, whenever enter- 
ing a corpse, whether it be of man, woman, or child, 
I feel peculiarly modest ; I know that my tenement 

lately belonged to some conceited ass. And ' 

6 Wouldst thou have me bump thy back against 
the ground ? ' asked Eajah Yikram angrily. 

(The Baital muttered some reply scarcely intelli- 
gible about his having this time stumbled upon a 
metaphysical thread of ideas, and then continued his 

Now Rupsen, the king, began by inquiring of 
himself why the Rajput had rated his services so 
highly. Then he reflected that if this recruit had 
asked so much money, it must have been for some 
reason which would afterwards become apparent. 
Next, he hoped that if he gave him so much, his 
generosity might some day turn out to his own ad- 
vantage. Finally, with this idea in his mind, he 
summoned Birbal and the steward of his household, 
and said to the latter, ' Give this Rajput a thousand 
ounces of gold daily from our treasury.' 

It is related that Birbal made the best possible use 


of his wealth. He used 'every morning to divide it 
into two portions, one of which was distributed to 
Brahmans and Parohitas. 1 Of the remaining moiety, 
having made two parts, he gave one as alms to pil- 
grims, to Bairagis or Vishnu's mendicants, and to 
Sanyasis or worshippers of Shiva, whose bodies, 
smeared with ashes, were hardly covered with a 
narrow cotton cloth and a rope about their loins, and 
whose heads of artificial hair, clotted like a rope, be- 
sieged his gate. With the remaining fourth, having 
caused food to be prepared, he regaled the poor, 
while he himself and his family ate what was left. 
Every evening, arming himself with sword and 
buckler, he took up his position as guard at the 
royal bedside, and walked round it all night sword 
in hand. If the king chanced to wake and asked 
who was present, Birbal immediately gave reply that 
( Birbal is here ; whatever command you give, that 
he will obey.' And oftentimes Rupsen gave him 
unusual commands, for it is said, * To try thy servant, 
bid him do things in season and out of season: if 
he obey thee willingly, know him to be useful; if 
he reply, dismiss him at once. Thus is a servant 
tried, even as a wife by the poverty of her husband, 
and brethren and friends by asking their aid.' 

1 The ancient name of a priest by profession, meaning ' praepositus ' 
or praeses. He was the friend and counsellor of a chief, the minister of 
a king, and his companion in peace and war. (M. Mailer's Ancient 
Sanskrit Literature, p. 485.) 

L 2 


In such manner, through desire of money, Birbal 
remained on guard all night ; and whether eating, 
drinking, sleeping, sitting, going or wandering about, 
during the twenty-four hours, he held his master in 
watchful remembrance. This, indeed, is the custom ; 
if a man sell another the latter is sold, but a servant 
by doing service sells himself, and when a man has 
become dependent, how can he be happy? Certain 
it is that, however intelligent, clever, or learned a 
man may be, yet, while he is in his master's presence, 
he remains silent as a dumb man, and struck with 
dread. Only while he is away from his lord can he 
be at ease. Hence, learned men say that to do ser- 
vice aright is harder than any religious study. 

On one occasion it is related that there happened 
to be heard at night time the wailing of a woman in 
a neighbouring cemetery. The king on hearing it 
called out, ' Who is in waiting ? ' 

' I am here,' replied Birbal ; ' what command is 
there ? ' 

6 Go,' spoke the king, ' to the place whence pro- 
ceeds this sound of woman's wail, and having inquired 
the cause of her grief, return quickly. 

On receiving this order the Rajput went to obey 
it ; and the king, unseen by him, and attired in a 
black dress, followed for the purpose of observing his 

Presently Birbal arrived at the cemetery. And 
what sees he there ? A beautiful woman of a light 


yellow colour, loaded with jewels from head to foot, 
holding a horn in her right and a necklace in her left 
hand. Sometimes she danced, sometimes she jumped, 
and sometimes she ran about. There was not a tear 
in her eye, but, beating her head and making lament- 
able cries, she kept dashing herself on the ground. 

Seeing her condition, and not recognising the god- 
dess born of sea foam, and whom all the host of 
heaven loved, 1 Birbal inquired, ( Why art thou thus 
beating thyself and crying out? Who art thou? 
And what grief is upon thee ? ' 

* I am the Royal- Luck,' she replied. 

* For what reason,' asked Birbal, 4 art thou weep- 

The goddess then began to relate her position to 
the Rajput. She said, with tears, 'In the king's 
palace Shudra (or low caste acts) are done, and hence 
misfortune will certainly fall upon it, and I shall 
forsake it. After a month has passed the king, 
having endured excessive affliction, will die. In 
grief for this I weep. I have brought much happi- 
ness to the king's house, and hence I am full of 
regret that this my prediction cannot in any way 
prove untrue.' 

1 Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity. Raj-Lakshmi would mean 
the King's Fortune, which we should call tutelary genius. Lakshi- 
chara is our ' luckless,' forming, as Mr. Ward says, an extraordinary 
coincidence of sound and meaning in languages so different. But the 
derivations are very distinct. 


6 Is there,' asked Birbal, ' any remedy for this 
trouble, so that the king may be preserved and live a 
hundred years ? ' 

c Yes,' said the goddess, 'there is. About eight 
miles to the east thou wilt find a temple dedicated to 
my terrible sister Devi. Offer to her thy son's head, 
cut off with thine own hand, and the reign of thy 
king shall endure for an age.' So saying Raj- 
Lakshmi disappeared. 

Birbal answered not a word, but with hurried steps 
he turned towards his home. The king, still in black 
so as not to be seen, followed him closely, and observed 
and listened to everything he did. 

The Rajput went straight to his wife, awakened 
her, and related to her everything that had happened. 
The wise have said, 'she alone deserves the name 
of wife who always receives her husband with affec- 
tionate and submissive words.' When she heard the 
circumstances, she at once aroused her son, and her 
daughter also awoke. Then Birbal told them all 
that they must follow him to the temple of Devi in 
the wood. 

On the way the Rajput said to his wife, ' If thou 
wilt give up thy son willingly, I will sacrifice him 
for our master's sake to Devi the Destroyer.' 

She replied, * Father and mother, son and daugh- 
ter, brother and relative, have I now none. You are 
everything to me. It is written in the scripture that 
a wife is not made pure by gifts to priests, nor by 


performing religious rites ; her virtue consists in 
waiting upon her husband, in obeying him and in 
loving him yea ! though he be lame, maimed in 
the hands, dumb, deaf, blind, one-eyed, leprous, or 
humpbacked. It is a true saying that " a son under 
one's authority, a body free from sickness, a desire 
to acquire knowledge, an intelligent friend, and an 
obedient wife ; whoever holds these five will find 
them bestowers of happiness and dispellers of afflic- 
tion. An unwilling servant, a parsimonious king, an 
insincere friend, and a wife not under control ; such 
things are disturbers of ease and givers of trouble." ' 

Then the good wife turned to her son and said, 
( Child, by the gift of thy head, the king's life may 
be spared, and the kingdom remain unshaken.' 

1 Mother,' replied that excellent youth, ' in my 
opinion we should hasten this matter. Firstly, I 
must obey your command ; secondly, I must promote 
the interests of my master ; thirdly, if this body be 
of any use to a goddess, nothing better can be done 
with it in this world.' 

( ' Excuse me, Eaja Yikram,' said the Baital, inter- 
rupting himself, f if I repeat these fair discourses at 
full length ; it is interesting to hear a young person, 
whose throat is about to be cut, talk so like a doctor 
of laws.') 

Then the youth thus addressed his sire : ' Father, 
whoever can be of use to his master, the life of that 
man in this world has been lived to good purpose, 


and by reason of his usefulness he will be rewarded 
in other worlds.' 

His sister, however, exclaimed, ' If a mother should 
give poison to her daughter, and a father sell his son, 
and a king seize the entire property of his subjects, 
where then could one look for protection ? ' But 
they heeded her not, and continued talking as they 
journeyed towards the temple of Devi the king all 
the while secretly following them. 

Presently they reached the temple, a single room, 
surrounded by a spacious paved area ; in front was 
an immense building capable of seating hundreds of 
people. Before the image there were pools of blood, 
where victims had lately been slaughtered. In the 
sanctum was Devi, a large black figure with ten arms. 
With a spear in one of her right hands she pierced 
the giant Mahisha ; and with one of her left hands 
she held the tail of a serpent, and the hair of the 
giant, whose breast the serpent was biting. Her 
other arms were all raised above her head, and were 
filled with different instruments of war ; against her 
right leg leaned a lion. 

Then Birbal joined his hands in prayer, and with 
Hindu mildness thus addressed the awful goddess : 
4 mother, let the king's life be prolonged for a 
thousand years by the sacrifice of my son. Devi, 
mother ! destroy, destroy his enemies ! Kill ! kill ! 
Reduce them to ashes ! Drive them away ! Devour 
them ! devour them ! Cut them in two ! Drink ! 


drink their blood ! Destroy them root and branch ! 
With thy thunderbolt, spear, scymitar, discus, or 
rope, annihilate them ! Spheng ! Spheng ! ' 

The Eajput, having caused his son to kneel before 
the goddess, struck him so violent a blow that his 
head rolled upon the ground. He then threw the 
sword down, when his daughter, frantic with grief, 
snatched it up and struck her neck with such force 
that her head, separated from her body, fell. In her 
turn the mother, unable to survive the loss of her 
children, seized the weapon and succeeded in deca- 
pitating herself. Birbal, beholding all this slaugh- 
ter, thus reflected : ' My children are dead ; why, 
now, should I remain in servitude, and upon whom 
shall I bestow the gold I receive from the king ? ' 
He then gave himself so deep a wound in the neck, 
that his head also separated from his body. 

Eupsen, the king, seeing these four heads on the 
ground, said in his heart, ' For my sake has the 
family of Birbal been destroyed. Kingly power, for 
the purpose of upholding which the destruction of a 
whole household is necessary, is a mere curse, and to 
carry on government in this manner is not just.' He 
then took up the sword and was about to slay him- 
self, when the Destroying Goddess, probably satisfied 
with bloodshed, stayed his hand, bidding him at the 
same time ask any boon he pleased. 

The generous monarch begged, thereupon, that his 
faithful servant might be restored to life, together 


with all his high-minded family ; and the goddess 
Devi in the twinkling of an eye fetched from Patala, 
the regions below the earth, a vase full of Amrita, 
the water of immortality, sprinkled it upon the dead, 
and raised them all as before. After which the 
whole party walked leisurely home, and in due time 
the king divided his throne with his friend Birbal. 

Having stopped for a moment, the Baital proceeded 
to remark, in a sententious tone, c Happy the servant 
who grudges not his own life to save that of his 
master ! And happy, thrice happy the master who can 
annihilate all greedy longing for existence and worldly 
prosperity. Eaja, I have to ask thee one searching 
question Of these five, who was the greatest fool ? ' 

' Demon ! ' exclaimed the great Vikram, all whose 
cherished feelings about fidelity and family affection, 
obedience and high-mindedness, were outraged by 
this Yampire view of the question ; ' if thou meanest 
by the greatest fool the noblest mind, I reply without 
hesitating Rupsen, the king.' 

< Why, prithee ? ' asked the Baital. 

' Because, dull demon,' said the king, ' Birbal was 
bound to offer up his life for a master who treated 
him so generously; the son could not disobey his 
father, and the women naturally and instinctively 
killed themselves, because the example was set to 
them. But Rupsen the king gave up his throne for 
the sake of his retainer, and valued not a straw his 


life and his high inducements to live. For this 
reason I think him the most meritorious.' 

' Surely, mighty Vikram,' laughed the Vampire, 
( you will be tired of ever clambering up yon tall 
tree, even had you the legs and arms of Hanuman l 

And so saying he disappeared from the cloth, al- 
though it had been placed upon the ground. 

But the poor Baital had little reason to congratu- 
late himself on the success of his escape. In a short 
time he was again bundled into the cloth with the 
usual want of ceremony, and he revenged himself by 
telling another true story. 

1 The Monkey God. 




6 LISTEN, great king ! ' again began the Baital. 

An unimportant Baniya l (trader), Hiranyadatt, had 
a daughter, whose name was Madansena Sundari, 
the beautiful army of Cupid. Her face was like the 
moon ; her hair like the clouds ; her eyes like those 
of a musk-rat ; her eyebrows like a bent bow ; her 
nose like a parrot's bill ; her neck like that of a dove ; 
her teeth like pomegranate grains ; the red colour of 
her lips like that of a gourd; her waist lithe and 
bending like the pard's ; her hands and feet like 
softest blossoms ; her complexion like the jasmine 
in fact, day by day the splendour of her youth in- 

When she had arrived at maturity, her father and 
mother began often to revolve in their minds the 
subject of her marriage. And the people of all that 
country side ruled by Birbar king of Madanpur 
bruited it abroad that in the house of Hiranyadatt 
had been born a daughter by whose beauty gods, 
men, and munis (sages) were fascinated. 

1 Generally written Banyan.' 


Thereupon many, causing their portraits to be 
painted, sent them by messengers to Hiranyadatt 
the Baniya, who showed them all to his daughter. 
But she was capricious, as beauties sometimes are, 
and when her father said, ' Make choice of a husband 
thyself,' she told him that none pleased her, and 
moreover she begged of him to find her a husband 
who possessed good looks, good qualities, and good 

At length, when some days had passed, four suitors 
came from four different countries. The father told 
them that he must have from each some indication 
that he possessed the required qualities ; that he was 
pleased with their looks, but that they must satisfy 
him about their knowledge. 

6 1 have,' the first said, 6 a perfect acquaintance with 
the Shastras (or Scriptures) ; in science there is none 
to rival me. As for my handsome mien, it may 
plainly be seen by you.' 

The second exclaimed, ' My attainments are unique 
in the knowledge of archery. I am acquainted with 
the art of discharging arrows and killing anything 
which though not seen is heard, and my fine pro- 
portions are plainly visible to you.' 

The third continued, * I understand the language 
of land and water animals, of birds and of beasts, and 
I have no equal in strength. Of my comeliness you 
yourself may judge.' 

' I have the knowledge,' quoth the fourth, ' how to 


make a certain cloth which can be sold for five 
rubies: having sold it I give the proceeds of one 
ruby to a Brahman, of the second I make an offering 
to a deity, a third I wear on my own person, a 
fourth I keep for my wife ; and, having sold the fifth, 
I spend it in giving feasts. This is my knowledge, 
and none other is acquainted with it. My good 
looks are apparent.' 

The father hearing these speeches began to reflect, 
6 It is said that excess in anything is not good. 
Sita 1 was very lovely, but the demon Eavana carried 
her away ; and Bali king of Mahabahpur gave much 
alms, but at length he became poor. 2 My daughter 
is too fair to remain a maiden ; to which of these 
shall I give her ? ' 

So saying, Hiranyadatt went to his daughter, ex- 
plained the qualities of the four suitors, and asked, 
c To which shall I give thee ? ' On hearing these 
words she was abashed ; and, hanging down her head, 
knew not what to reply. 

Then the Baniya, having reflected, said to himself, 
' He who is acquainted with the Shastras is a Brah- 
man, he who could shoot an arrow at the sound was 

1 The daughter of Raja Janaka, married to Ramachandra. The latter 
placed his wife under the charge of his brother Lakshmana, and went 
into the forest to worship, when the demon Ravana disguised himself 
as a beggar, and carried off the prize. 

2 This great king was tricked by the god Vishnu out of the sway of 
heaven and earth, but from his exceeding piety he was appointed to 
reign in Patala, or Hades. 


a Kshatriya or warrior, and he who made the cloth 
was a Shudra or servile. But the youth who under- 
stands the language of birds is of our own caste. To 
him, therefore, will I many her.' And accordingly 
he proceeded with the betrothal of his daughter. 

Meanwhile Madansena went one day, during the 
spring season, into the garden for a stroll. It hap- 
pened, just before she came out, that Somdatt, the 
son of the merchant Dharmdatt, had gone for pleasure 
into the forest, and was returning through the same 
garden to his home. 

He was fascinated at the sight of the maiden, and 
said to his friend, ( Brother, if I can obtain her my 
life will be prosperous, and if I do not obtain her my 
living in the world will be in vain.' 

Having thus spoken, and becoming restless from 
the fear of separation, he involuntarily drew near to 
her, and seizing her hand, said 

6 If thou wilt not form an affection for me, I will 
throw away my life on thy account.' 

' Be pleased not to do this,' she replied ; ' it will 
be sinful, and it will involve me in the guilt and 
punishment of shedding blood ; hence I shall be 
miserable in this world and in that to be.' 

( Thy blandishments,' he replied, ' have pierced 
my heart, and the consuming thought of parting 
from thee has burnt up my body, and memory and 
understanding have been destroyed by this pain; 
and from excess of love I have no sense of right or 


wrong. But if thou wilt make me a promise, I will 
live again.' 

She replied, ' Truly the Kali Yug (iron age) 
has commenced, since which time falsehood has in- 
creased in the world and truth has diminished ; 
people talk smoothly with their tongues, but nourish 
deceit in their hearts; religion is destroyed, crime 
has increased, and the earth has begun to give 
little fruit. Kings levy fines, JBrahmans have waxed 
covetous, the son obeys not his sire's commands, 
brother distrusts brother; friendship has departed 
from amongst friends ; sincerity has left masters ; 
servants have given up service ; man has abandoned 
manliness; and woman has abandoned modesty. 
Five days hence, my marriage is to be ; but if thou 
slay not thyself, I will visit thee first, and after that 
I will remain with my husband.' 

Having given this promise, and having sworn by 
the Ganges, she returned home. The merchant's 
son also went his way. 

Presently the marriage ceremonies came on, and 
Hiranyadatt the Baniya expended a lakh of rupees 
in feasts and presents to the bridegroom. The 
bodies of the twain were anointed with turmeric, 
the bride was made to hold in her hand the iron box 
for eye paint, and the youth a pair of betel scissors. 
During the night before the wedding there was loud 
and shrill music, the heads and limbs of the young 
couple were rubbed with an ointment of oil, and 


the bridegroom's head was duly shaved. The wed- 
ding procession was very grand. The streets were a 
blaze of flambeaux and torches carried in the hand, 
fireworks by the ton were discharged as the people 
passed; elephants, camels, and horses richly capari- 
soned, were placed in convenient situations; and 
before the procession had reached the house of the 
bride half a dozen wicked boys and bad young men 
were killed or wounded. 1 After the marriage for- 
mulas were repeated the Baniya gave a feast or 
supper, and the food was so excellent that all sat 
down quietly, no one 1 uttered a complaint, or brought 
dishonour on the bride's family, or cut with scissors 
the garments of his neighbour. 

The ceremony thus happily concluded, the hus- 
band brought Madansena home to his own house. 
After some days the wife of her husband's youngest 
brother and also the wife of his eldest brother led 
her at night by force to her bridegroom, and seated 
her on a bed ornamented with flowers. 

As her husband proceeded to take her hand, she 
jerked it away, and at once openly told him all that 
she had promised to Somdatt on condition of his not 
killing himself. 

6 All things,' rejoined the bridegroom, hearing her 
words, e have their sense ascertained by speech ; in 

1 The procession is fair game, and is often attacked in the dark wi; h 
sticks and stones, causing serious disputes. At the supper the guests 
confer the obligation by their presence, and are exceedingly exacting. 



speech they have their basis, and from speech they 
proceed ; consequently a falsifier of speech falsifies 
everything. If truly you are desirous of going to 
him, go ! ' 

Receiving her husband's permission, she arose and 
went off to the young merchant's house in full dress. 
Upon the road a thief saw her, and in high good 
humour came up and asked 

* Whither goest thou at midnight in such darkness, 
having put on all these fine clothes and ornaments ? ' 

She replied that she was going to the house of her 

f And who here,' said the thief, ' is thy protector ? ' 

' Kama Deva,' she replied, t the beautiful youth 
who by his fiery arrows wounds with love the 
hearts of the inhabitants of the three worlds, Eati- 
pati, the husband of Rati, 1 accompanied by the 
kokila bird, 2 the humming bee and gentle breezes.' 
She then told to the thief the whole story, adding 

6 Destroy not my jewels : I give thee a promise 
before I go that on my return thou shalt have all 
these ornaments.' 

Hearing this the thief thought to himself that it 
would be useless now to destroy her jewels, when 
she had promised to give them to him presently of 

1 Kati is the wife of Kama, the Grod of Desire ; and we explain the 
word by ' Spring personified.' 

2 The Indian Cuckoo ( Cuculus Indicus). It is supposed to lay its 
eggs in the nest of the crow. 


her own good will. He therefore let her go, and sat 
down and thus soliloquised : 

' To me it is astonishing that he who sustained 
me in my mother's womb should take no care of me 
now that I have been born and am able to enjoy 
the good things of this world. I know not whether 
he is asleep or dead. And I would rather swallow 
poison than ask man for money or favour. For 
these six things tend to lower a man : friendship 
with the perfidious ; causeless laughter ; altercation 
with women ; serving an unworthy master ; riding an 
ass, and speaking any language but Sanskrit. And 
these five things the deity writes on our fate at the 
hour of birth : first, age ; secondly, action ; thirdly, 
wealth ; fourthly, science ; fifthly, fame. I have 
now done a good deed, and as long as a man's 
virtue is in the ascendant, all people becoming his 
servants obey him. But when virtuous deeds di- 
minish, even his friends become inimical to him.' 

Meanwhile Madansena had reached the place 
where Somdatt the young trader had fallen asleep. 

She awoke him suddenly, and he springing up in 
alarm quickly asked her, * Art thou the daughter of 
a deity? or of a saint? or of a serpent? Tell me 
truly, who art thou ? And whence hast thou come ? ' 

She replied, ' I am human Madansena, the 
daughter of the Baniya Hiranyadatt. Dost thou 
not remember taking my hand in that grove, and 
declaring that thou wouldst slay thyself if I did not 



swear to visit thee first and after that remain with 
my husband ? ' 

4 Hast thou,' he inquired, ' told all this to thy 
husband or not ? ' 

She replied, e I have told him everything ; and he, 
thoroughly understanding the whole affair, gave me 

' This matter,' exclaimed Somdatt in a melan- 
choly voice, ' is like pearls without a suitable dress, 
or food without clarified butter, 1 or singing without 
melody ; they are all alike unnatural. In the same 
way, unclean clothes will mar beauty, bad food will 
undermine strength, a wicked wife will worry her 
husband to death, a disreputable son will ruin his 
family, an enraged demon will kill, and a woman, 
whether she love or hate, will be a source of pain. 
For there are few things which a woman will not do. 
She never brings to her tongue what is in her heart, 
she never speaks out what is on her tongue, and she 
never tells what she is doing. Truly the Deity has 
created woman a strange creature in this world.' 
He concluded with these words : ( Eeturn thou 
home ; with another man's wife I have no concern.' 

Madansena rose and departed. On her way she 
met the thief, who, hearing her tale, gave her great 
praise, and let her go unplundered. 2 

1 This is the well-known Ghi or Ghee, the one sauce of India, which 
is as badly off in that matter as England. 

* The European reader will observe that it is her purity which carries 

The Baital disappeared through the darkness. 


She then went to her husband, and related the 
whole matter to him. But he had ceased to love 
her, and he said, * Neither a king nor a minister, 
nor a wife, nor a person's hair nor his nails, look well 
out of their places. And the beauty of the kokila is 
its note, of an ugly man knowledge, of a devotee 
forgiveness, and of a woman her chastity.' 

The Vampire having narrated thus far, suddenly 
asked the king, 'Of these three, whose virtue was 
the greatest ? ' 

Vikram, who had been greatly edified by the tale, 
forgot himself, and ejaculated, ' The Thief's.' 

' And pray why ? ' asked the Baital. 

* Because,' the hero explained, ' when her husband 
saw that she loved another man, however purely, he 
ceased to feel affection for her. Somdatt let her 
go unharmed, for fear of being punished by the 
king. But there was no reason why the thief should 
fear the law and dismiss her ; therefore he was the 

' Hi ! hi ! hi ! ' laughed the demon, spitefully. 
' Here, then, ends my story.' 

Upon which, escaping as before from the cloth in 
which he was slung behind the Raja's back, the 
Baital disappeared through the darkness of the 
night, leaving father and son looking at each other 
in dismay. 

the heroine through all these perils. Moreover, that her virtue is its 
own reward, as it loses to her the world. 


6 Son Dharma Dhwaj,' quoth the great Vikram, 
* the next time when that villain Vampire asks me a 
question, I allow thee to take the liberty of pinching 
my arm even before I have had time to answer his 
questions. In this way we shall never, of a truth, 
end our task.' 

c Your words be upon my head, sire,' replied the 
young prince. But he expected no good from his 
father's new plan, as, arrived under the siras-tree, 
he heard the Baital laughing with all his might. 

c Surely he is laughing at our beards, sire/ said 
the beardless prince, who hated to be laughed at like 
a young person. 

' Let them laugh that win,' fiercely cried Raja 
Yikram, who hated to be laughed at like an elderly 


The Yampire lost no time in opening a fresh 




YOUR majesty (quoth the demon, with unusual po- 
liteness), there is a country called Malaya, on the 
western coast of the land of Bharat you see that I 
am particular in specifying the place and in it was 
a city known as Chandrodaya, whose king was named 

This Raja, like most others of his semi-deified 
order, had been in youth what is called a Sarva-rasi ; l 
that is, he ate and drank and listened to music, and 
looked at dancers and made love much more than he 
studied, reflected, prayed, or conversed with the wise. 
After the age of thirty he began to reform, and he 
brought such zeal to the good cause, that in an in- 
credibly short space of time he came to be accounted 
and quoted as the paragon of correct Eajas. This 
was very praiseworthy. Many of Bramha's vicege- 
rents on earth, be it observed, have loved food and 
drink, and music and dancing, and the worship of 
Kama, to the end of their days. 

Amongst his officers was Gunshankar, a magistrate 

1 Literally, ' one of all tastes 'a wild or gay man, we should say. 


of police, who, curious to say, was as honest as lie 
was just. He administered equity with as much care 
before as after dinner ; he took no bribes even in the 
matter of advancing his family ; he was rather merci- 
ful than otherwise to the poor, and he never punished 
the rich ostentatiously, in order to display his and 
his law's disrespect for persons. Besides which, when 
sitting on the carpet of justice, he did not, as some 
Kotwals do, use rough or angry language to those 
who cannot reply ; nor did he take offence when none 
was intended. 

All the people of the city Chandrodaya, in the pro- 
vince of Malaya, on the western coast of Bharatland, 
loved and esteemed this excellent magistrate ; which 
did not, however, prevent thefts being committed so 
frequently, and so regularly, that no one felt his pro- 
perty secure. At last the merchants who had suffered 
most from these depredations went in a body before 
Gunshankar, and said to him : 

flower of the law ! robbers have exercised great 
tyranny upon us, so great indeed that we can no 
longer stay in this city.' 

Then the magistrate replied, c What has happened, 
has happened. But in future you shall be free from 
annoyance. I will make due preparation for these 

Thus saying Gunshankar called together his vari- 
ous delegates, and directed them to increase the num- 
ber of their people. He pointed out to them how 


they should keep watch, by night ; besides which he 
ordered them to open registers of all arrivals and 
departures, to make themselves acquainted by means 
of spies with the movements of every suspected per- 
son in the city, and to raise a body of paggis (trackers), 
who could follow the footprints of thieves even when 
they wore thieving shoes, 1 till they came up with and 
arrested them. And lastly, he gave the patrols full 
power, whenever they might catch a robber in the 
act, to slay him without asking questions. 

People in numbers began to mount guard through- 
out the city every night, but, notwithstanding this, 
robberies continued to be committed. After a time 
all the merchants having again met together went 
before the magistrate, and said, ' incarnation of 
justice ! you have changed your officers, you have 
hired watchmen, and you have established patrols : 
nevertheless the thieves have not diminished, and 
plundering is ever taking place.' 

Thereupon Gunshankar carried them to the palace, 
and made them lay their petition at the feet of king 
Randhir. That Raja, having consoled them, sent 
them home, saying, ' Be ye of good cheer. I will 
to-night adopt a new plan, which, with the bless- 
ing of the Bhagwan, shall free ye from further 

1 These shoes are generally made of rags and bite of leather ; they 
have often toes behind the foot, with other similar contrivances, yet 
they scarcely ever deceive an experienced man. 


Observe, Vikram, that Randhir was one of those 
concerning whom the poet sang 

The unwise run from one end to the other. 

Not content with becoming highly respectable, cor- 
rect, and even unimpeachable in point of character, 
he reformed even his reformation, and he did much 
more than he was required to do. 

When Canopus began to sparkle gaily in the 
southern skies, the king arose and prepared for a 
night's work. He disguised his face by smearing it 
with a certain paint, by twirling his moustachios up 
to his eyes, by parting his beard upon his chin, and 
conducting the two ends towards his ears, and by 
tightly tying a hair from a horse's tail over his nose, 
so as quite to change its shape. He then wrapped 
himself in a coarse outer garment, girt his loins, 
buckled on his sword, drew his shield upon his arm, 
and without saying a word to those within the 
palace, he went out into the streets alone, and on 

It was dark, and Eaja Randhir walked through 
the silent city for nearly an hour without meeting 
anyone. As, however, he passed through a back 
street in the merchants' quarter, he saw what ap- 
peared to be a homeless dog, lying at the foot of a 
house-wall. He approached it, and up leaped a 
human figure, whilst a loud voice cried, c Who art 
thou ? ' 

Randhir replied, ' I am a thief ; who art thou ? ' 

As, however, he passed through a back street 


* And I also am a thief,' rejoined the other, much 
pleased at hearing this ; ' come, then, and let us 
make together. But what art thou, a high-toper or 
a lully-prigger ? ' l 

' A little more ceremony betwe"n coves in the 
lorst,' 2 whispered the king, speaking as a flash man, 
* were not out of place. But, look sharp, mind old 
Oliver, 3 or the lamb-skin man 4 will have the pull of 
us, and as sure as eggs is eggs we shall be scragged 
as soon as lagged.' 5 

'Well, keep your red rag 6 quiet,' grumbled the 
other, ' and let us be working.' 

Then the pair, king and thief, began work in right 
earnest. The gang seemed to swarm in the street. 
They were drinking spirits, slaying victims, rubbing 
their bodies with oil, daubing their eyes with lamp- 
black, and repeating incantations to enable them 
to see in the darkness; others were practising 
the lessons of the god with the golden spear, 7 and 
carrying out the four modes of breaching a house : 

The high-toper is a swell thief, the other is a low dog. 

Engaged in shoplifting. 

The moon. 

The judge. 

To be lagged is to be taken ; scragging is hanging. 

The tongue. 

This is the god Kartikeya, a mixture of Mars and Mercury, who 
revealed to a certain Yugacharya the scriptures known as ' Chauriya- 
Vidya ' Anglice, Thieves' Manual.' The classical robbers of the 
Hindu drama always perform according to its precepts. There is 
another work respected by thieves, and called the ' Chora-Pancha-shika,' 
because consisting of fifty lines. 


1. Picking out burnt bricks. 2. Cutting through un- 
baked ones when old, when softened by recent damp, 
by exposure to the sun, or by saline exudations. 
3. Throwing water on a mud wall; and 4. Boring 
through one of wood. The sons of Skanda were 
making breaches in the shape of lotus blossoms, the 
sun, the new moon, the lake, and the water jar, and 
they seemed to be anointed with magic unguents, 
so that no eye could behold, no weapon harm them. 

At length having filled his bag with costly plunder, 
the thief said to the king, e Now, my rummy cove, 
we'll be off to the flash ken, where the lads and the 
morts are waiting to wet their whistles.' 

Randhir, who as a king was perfectly familiar with 
' thieves' Latin,' took heart, and resolved to hunt out 
the secrets of the den. On the way, his companion, 
perfectly satisfied with the importance which the 
new cove had attached to a rat-hole, 1 and convinced 
that he was a true robber, taught him the whistle, 
the word, and the sign peculiar to the gang, and 
promised him that he should smack the lit 2 that 
night before ' turning in.' 

So saying the thief rapped twice at the city gate, 
which was at once opened to him, and preceding his 
accomplice led the way to a rock about two kos (four 
miles) distant from the walls. Before entering the 
dark forest at the foot of the eminence, the robber 

1 Supposed to be a good omen. 

2 Share the booty. 



stood still for a moment and whistled twice through 
his fingers with a shrill scream that rang through 
the silent glades. After a few minutes the signal 
was answered by the hooting of an owl, which the 
robber acknowledged by shrieking like a jackal. 
Thereupon half a dozen armed men arose from their 

After ii lew minutes the signal was answered. 

crouching places in the grass, and one advanced to- 
wards the new comers to receive the sign. It was 
given, and .they both passed on, whilst the guard 
sank, as it were, into the bowels of the earth. All 
these things Randhir carefully remarked: besides 


which he neglected not to take note of all the dis- 
tinguishable objects that lay on the road, and, when 
he entered the wood, he scratched with his dagger 
all the tree trunks within reach. 

After a sharp walk the pair reached a high per- 
pendicular sheet of rock, rising abruptly from a clear 
space in the jungle, and profusely printed over with 
vermilion hands. The thief, having walked up to it, 
and made his obeisance, stooped to the ground, and 
removed a bunch of grass. The two then raised by 
their united efforts a heavy trap-door, through which 
poured a stream of light, whilst a confused hubbub 
of voices was heard below. 

6 This is the ken,' said the robber, preparing to 
descend a thin ladder of bamboo, ' follow me ! ' And 
he disappeared with his bag of valuables. 

The king did as he was bid, and the pair entered 
together a large hall, or rather a cave, which pre- 
sented a singular spectacle. It was lighted up by 
links fixed to the sombre walls, which threw a smoky 
glare over the place, and the contrast after the deep 
darkness reminded Eandhir of his mother's descrip- 
tions of Patal-puri, the infernal city. Carpets of 
every kind, from the choicest tapestry to the coarsest 
rug, were spread upon the ground, and were strewed 
with bags, wallets, weapons, heaps of booty, drinking 
cups, and all the materials of debauchery. 

Passing through this cave the thief led Eandhir 
into another, which was full of thieves, preparing for 

The two then raised, by their united efforts, a heavy trap-door. 


the pleasures of the night. Some were changing 
garments, ragged and dirtied by creeping through 
gaps in the houses ; others were washing the blood 
from their hands and feet ; these combed out their 
long dishevelled, dusty hair; those anointed their 
skins with perfumed cocoa-nut oil. There were all 
manner of murderers present, a villanous collection 
of Kartikeya's and Bhawani's l crew. There were 
stabbers with their poniards hung to lanyards lashed 
round their naked waists, Dhaturiya-poisoners 2 dis- 
tinguished by the little bag slung under the left arm, 
and Phansigars 3 wearing their fatal kerchiefs round 
their necks. And Eandhir had reason to thank the 
good deed in the last life that had sent him there 
in such strict disguise, for amongst the robbers he 
found, as might be expected, a number of his own 
people, spies and watchmen, guards and patrols. 

The thief, whose importance of manner now 
shewed him to be the chief of the gang, was greeted 
with applause as he entered the robing room, and he 
bade all make salaam to the new companion. A 
number of questions concerning the success of the 
night's work was quickly put and answered : then 
the company, having got ready for the revel, flocked 
into the first cave. There they sat down each in his 

1 Bhawani is one of the many forms of the destroying goddess, the 
wife of Shiva. 

2 Wretches who kill with the narcotic seed of the stramonium. 

8 Better known as ' Thugs,' which in India means simply ' rascals,' 


own place, and began to eat and drink and make 

After some hours the flaring torches began to burn 
out, and drowsiness to overpower the strongest heads. 
Most of the robbers rolled themselves up in the rugs, 
and covering their heads, went to sleep. A few still 
sat with their backs to the wall, nodding drowsily or 
leaning on one side, and too stupefied with opium 
and hemp to make any exertion. 

At that moment a servant woman, whom the king 
saw for the first time, came into the cave, and looking 
at him exclaimed, ' Eaja ! how came you with 
these wicked men ? Do you run away as fast as you 
can, or they will surely kill you when they awake.' 

' I do not know the way ; in which direction am I 
to go ? ' asked Eandhir. 

The woman then showed him the road. He 
threaded the confused mass of snorers, treading with 
the foot of a tiger-cat, found the ladder, raised the 
trap-door by exerting all his strength, and breathed 
once more the open air of heaven. And before 
plunging into the depths of the wood, he again 
marked the place where the entrance lay, and care- 
fully replaced the bunch of grass. 

Hardly had Eaja Eandhir returned to the palace, 
and removed the traces of his night's occupation, when 
he received a second deputation of the merchants, 
complaining bitterly and with the longest faces about 
their fresh misfortunes. 



* pearl of equity ! ' said the men of money, ' but 
yesterday you consoled us with the promise of some 
contrivance by the blessing of which our houses and 
coffers would be safe from theft ; whereas our goods 
have never yet suffered so severely as during the last 
twelve hours.' 

Again Randhir dismissed them, swearing that this 

Treading with the foot of a tiger-cat. 

time he would either die or destroy the wretches wh 
had been guilty of such violence. 

Then having mentally prepared his measures, the 
Raja warned a company of archers to hold themselves 
in readiness for secret service, and as each one of his 
own people returned from the robbers' cave, he had 
him privily arrested and put to death because the 
deceased, it is said, do not, like Baitals, tell tales. 
About nightfall, when he thought that the thieves, 
having finished their work of plunder, would meet 


together as usual for wassail and debauchery, he 
armed himself marched out his men, and led them 
to the rock in the jungle. 

But the robbers, aroused by the disappearance of 
the new companion, had made enquiries and had 
gained intelligence of the impending danger. They 
feared to flee during the day time, lest being tracked 
they should be discovered and destroyed in detail. 
When night came they hesitated to disperse, from the 
certainty that they would be captured in the morn- 
ing. Then their captain, who throughout had been 
of one opinion, proposed to them that they should 
resist, and promised them success if they would hear 
his words* The gang respected him, for he was 
known to be brave : they all listened to his advice, 
and they promised to be obedient. 

As young night began to cast transparent shade 
upon the jungle ground, the chief of the thieves 
mustered his men, inspected their bows and arrows, 
gave them encouraging words^ and led them forth 
from the cave. Having placed them in ambush he 
climbed the rock to espy the movements of the 
enemy, whilst others applied their noses and ears to 
the level ground. Presently the moon shone full 
upon Randhir and his band of archers, who were 
advancing quickly and carelessly, for they expected 
to catch the robbers in their cave. The captain 
allowed them to march nearly through the line of 
ambush. Then he gave the signal, and at that 

The king was cunning at fence, and so was the thief. 


moment the thieves, rising suddenly from the bush, 
fell upon the royal troops and drove them back in 

The king also fled, when the chief of the robbers 
shouted out, 'Hola! thou a Rajput and running 
away from combat ? ' Eandhir hearing this halted, 
and the two, confronting each other, bared their 
blades and began to do battle with prodigious fury. 

The king was cunning of fence, and so was the 
thief. They opened the duel, as skilful swordsmen 
should, by bending almost double, skipping in a 
circle, each keeping his eye well fixed upon the 
other, with frowning brows and contemptuous lips ; 
at the same time executing divers gambados and 
measured leaps, springing forward like frogs and 
backward like monkeys, and beating time with their 
sabres upon their shields, which rattled like drums. 

Then Randhir suddenly facing his antagonist, cut 
at his legs with a loud cry, but the thief sprang in 
the air, and the blade whistled harmlessly under 
him. Next moment the robber chief's sword, thrice 
whirled round his head, descended like lightning j n 

' DO 

a slanting direction towards the king's left shoulder : 
the latter, however, received it upon his target and 
escaped all hurt, though he staggered with the vio- 
lence of the blow. 

And thus they continued attacking each other, 
parrying and replying, till their breath failed them 
and their hands and wrists were numbed and 



cramped with fatigue. They were so well matched 
in courage, strength, and address, that neither ob- 
tained the least advantage, till the robber's right 
foot catching a stone slid from under him, and thus 
he fell to the ground at the mercy of his enemy. 
The thieves fled, and the Kaja, throwing himself on 
his prize, tied his hands behind him, and brought 
him back to the city at the point of his good sword. 

The next morning Randhir visited his prisoner, 
whom he caused to be bathed, and washed, and 
covered with fine clothes. He then had him mounted 
on a camel and sent him on a circuit of the city, 
accompanied by a crier proclaiming aloud : 

c Who hears ! who hears ! who hears ! the king- 
commands ! This is the thief who has robbed and 
plundered the city of Chandrodaya. Let all men 
therefore assemble themselves together this evening 
in the open space outside the gate leading towards 
the sea. And let them behold the penalty of evil 
deeds, and learn to be wise.' 

Eandhir had condemned the thief to be crucified, 1 

1 Crucifixion, until late years, was common amongst the Buddhists of 
the Burmese empire. According to an eye-witness, Mr. F. Carey, the 
punishment was inflicted in two ways. Sometimes criminals were cru- 
cified by their hands and feet being nailed to a scaffold ; others were 
merely tied up, and fed. In these cases the legs and feet of the patient 
begin to swell and mortify at the expiration of three or four days ; men 
are said to have lived in this state for a fortnight, and at last they ex- 
pired from fatigue and mortification. The sufferings from cramp also 
must be very severe. In India generally impalement was more common 
than crucifixion. 


nailed and tied with his hands and feet stretched out 
at full length, in an erect posture until death ; every- 
thing he wished to eat was ordered to him in order 
to prolong life and misery. And when death should 
draw near, melted gold was to be poured down his 
throat till it should burst from his neck and other 
parts of his body. 

In the evening the thief was led out for execution, 
and by chance the procession passed close to the 
house of a wealthy landowner. He had a favourite 
daughter named Shobhani, who was in the flower of 
her youth and very lovely ; every day she improved, 
and every moment added to her grace and beauty. 
The girl had been carefully kept out of sight of 
mankind, never being allowed outside the high walls 
of the garden, because her nurse, a wise woman, 
much trusted in the neighbourhood, had at the hour 
of death given a solemn warning to her parents. 
The prediction was that the maiden should be the 
admiration of the city, and should die a Sati- widow ] 
before becoming a wife. From that hour Shobhani 
was kept as a pearl in its casket by her father, who 
had vowed never to survive her, and had even fixed 
upon the place and style of his suicide. 

But the shaft of Fate 2 strikes down the vulture 
sailing above the clouds, and follows the worm into 

1 Our Suttee. There is an admirable Hindu proverb, which says, 
' No one knows the ways of woman ; she kills her husband and becomes 
a Sati.' 

2 Fate and Destiny are rather Moslem than Hindu fancies. 


the bowels of the earth, and pierces the fish at the 
bottom of the ocean how then can mortal man 
expect to escape it ? As the robber chief, mounted 
upon the camel, was passing to the cross under the 
old householder's windows, a fire breaking out in the 
women's apartments, drove the inmates into the 
rooms looking upon the street. 

The hum of many voices arose from the solid 
pavement of heads : ' This is the thief who has been 
robbing the whole city ; let him tremble now, for 
Randhir will surely crucify him ! ' 

In beauty and bravery of bearing, as in strength 
and courage, no man in Chandrodaya surpassed the 
robber, who, being magnificently dressed, looked, 
despite his disgraceful cavalcade, like the son of a 
king. He sat with an unmoved countenance, hardly 
hearing in his pride the scoffs of the mob ; calm and 
steady when the whole city was frenzied with anxiety 
because of him. But as he heard the word c tremble ' 
his lips quivered, his eyes flashed fire, and deep 
lines gathered between his eyebrows. 

Shobhani started with a scream from the case- 
ment behind which she had hid herself, gazing with 
an intense womanly curiosity into the thoroughfare. 
The robber's face was upon a level with, and not 
half a dozen feet from, her pale cheeks. She marked 
his handsome features, and his look of wrath made 
her quiver as if it had been a flash of lightning. 
Then she broke away from the fascination of his 


youth and beauty, and ran breathless to her father, 
saying : 

6 Go this moment and get that thief released ! ' 

The old housekeeper replied : ' That thief has been 
pilfering and plundering the whole city, and by his 
means the king's archers were defeated ; why, then, 
at my request, should our most gracious Raja Ran- 
dhir release him ? ' 

Shobhani, almost beside herself, exclaimed : If 
by giving up your whole property you can induce 
the Raja to release him, then instantly so do ; if he 
does not come to me, I must give up my life ! ' 

The maiden then covered her head with her veil, 
and sat down in the deepest despair, whilst her 
father, hearing her words, burst into a cry of grief, 
and hastened to present himself before the Raja. He 
cried out : 

( great king, be pleased to receive four lakhs of 
rupees, and to release this thief.' 

But the king replied : ' He has been robbing the 
whole city, and by reason of him my guards have 
been destroyed. I cannot by any means release 

Then the old householder finding, as he had ex- 
pected, the Raja inexorable, and not to be moved, 
either by tears or bribes, or by the cruel fate of the 
girl, returned home with fire in his heart, and ad- 
dressed her : 

'Daughter. I have said and done all that is pos- 


sible ; but it avails me nought with the king. Now, 
then, we die.' 

In the mean time, the guards having led the tnief 
all round the city, took him outside the gates, and 
made him. stand near the cross. Then the messengers 
of death arrived from the palace, and the execu- 
tioners began to nail his limbs. He bore the agony 
with the fortitude of the brave ; but when he heard 
what had been done by the old householder's 
daughter, he raised his voice and wept bitterly, as 
though his heart had been bursting, and almost with 
the same breath he laughed heartily as at a feast. 
All were startled by his merriment ; coming as it 
did at a time when the iron was piercing his flesh, 
no man could see any reason for it. 

When he died, Shobhani, who was married to him 
in the spirit, recited to herself these sayings : 

6 There are thirty-five millions of hairs on the 
human body. The Woman who ascends the pile with 
her husband will remain so many years in heaven. 
As the snake-catcher draws the serpent from his 
hole, so she, rescuing her husband from hell, rejoices 
with him ; aye, though he may have sunk to a region 
of torment, be restrained in dreadful bonds, have 
reached the place of anguish, be exhausted of strength, 
and afflicted and tortured for his crimes. No other 
effectual duty is known for virtuous women at any 
time after the death of their lords, except casting 
themselves into the same fire. As long as a woman, 


in her successive transmigrations, shall decline burn- 
ing herself, like a faithful wife, in the same fire with 
her deceased lord, so long shall she not be exempted 
from springing again to life in the body of some 
female animal.' 

Therefore the beautiful Shobhani, virgin and wife, 
resolved to burn herself, and make the next life of 
the thief certain. She showed her courage by thrust- 
ing her finger into a torch flame till it became a 
cinder, and she solemnly bathed in the nearest 

A hole was dug in the ground, and upon a bed of 
green tree-trunks were heaped hemp, pitch, faggots, 
and clarified butter, to form the funeral pyre. The 
dead body, anointed, bathed, and dressed in new 
clothes, was then laid upon the heap, which was some 
two feet high. Shobhani prayed that as long as four- 
teen Indras reign, or as many years as there are hairs 
in her head, she might abide in heaven with her hus- 
band, and be waited upon by the heavenly dancers. 
She then presented her ornaments and little gifts of 
corn to her friends, tied some cotton round both 
wrists, put two new combs in her hair, painted her 
forehead, and tied up in the end of her body-cloth 
clean parched rice 1 and cowrie-shells. These she gave 

1 Properly speaking, the husbandman should plough with not less 
than four bullocks ; but few can afford this. If he plough with a cow 
or a bullock, and not with a bull, the rice produced by his ground is 
unclean, and may not be used in any religious ceremony. 


to the bystanders, as she walked seven times round 
the funeral pyre, upon which lay the body. She then 
ascended the heap of wood, sat down upon it, and 
taking the thief's head in her lap, without cords or 
levers or upper layer of faggots, she ordered the pile 
to be lighted. The crowd standing around set fire to 
it in several places, drummed their drums, blew their 
conchs, and raised a loud cry of f Hari bol ! Hari bol ! ' l 
Straw was thrown on, and pitch and clarified butter 
were freely poured out. But Shobhani's was a Saha- 
maran, a blessed easy death : no part of her body was 
seen to move after the pyre was lighted in fact, she 
seemed to die before the flame touched her. 

By the blessing of his daughter's decease, the old 
householder beheaded himself. 9 He caused an instru- 
ment to be made in the shape of a half-moon, with 
an edge like a razor, and fitting the back of his neck. 
At both ends of it, as at the beam of a balance, chains 
were fastened. He sat down with eyes closed ; he 
was rubbed with the purifying clay of the holy river, 
Vaiturani ; 3 and he repeated the proper incantations. 
Then placing his feet upon the extremities of the 

1 A shout of triumph, like our ' Huzza ' or ' Hurrah ! ' of late degraded 
into ' Hooray.' ' Hari bol ' is of course religious, meaning ' Call upon 
Hari!' i.e. Krishna, i.e. Vishnu. 

2 This form of suicide is one of those recognised in India. So in 
Europe we read of fanatics who, with a suicidal ingenuity, have suc- 
ceeded in crucifying themselves. 

8 The river of Jaganath in Orissa ; it shares the honours of sanctity 
with some twenty-nine others, and in the lower regions it represents the 
classical Styx. 


chains, he suddenly jerked up his neck, and his 
severed head rolled from his body upon the ground. 
What a happy death was this ! 

The Baital was silent, as if meditating on the for- 
tunate transmigration which the old householder had 
thus secured. 

c But what could the thief have been laughing at, 
sire?' asked the young prince Dharma Dhwaj of his 

At the prodigious folly of the girl, my son,' replied 
the warrior king, thoughtlessly. 

6 1 am indebted once more to your majesty,' burst 
out the Baital, e for releasing me from this unpleasant 
position, but the Raja's penetration is again at fault. 
Not to leave your royal son and heir labouring 
under a false impression, before going I will explain 
why the brave thief burst into tears, and why he 
laughed at such a moment. 

* He wept when he reflected that he could not re- 
quite her kindness in being willing to give up every- 
thing she had in the world to save his life ; and this 
thought deeply grieved him. 

6 Then it struck him as being passing strange that 
she had begun to love him when the last sand of his 
life was well nigh run out ; that wondrous are the 
ways of the revolving heavens which bestow wealth 
upon the niggard that cannot use it, wisdom upon the 
bad man who will misuse it, a beautiful wife upon the 
fool who cannot protect her, and fertilising showers 


upon the stony hills. And thinking over these things, 
the gallant and beautiful thief laughed aloud. 

6 Before returning to my siras-tree,' continued the 
Vampire, 'as I am about to do in virtue of your 
majesty's unintelligent repty, I may remark that men 
may laugh and cry, or may cry and laugh, about 
everything in this world, from their neighbours' 
deaths, which, as a general rule, in no wise concerns 
them, to their own latter ends, which do concern 
them exceedingly. For my part, I am in the habit 

Presently the demon was trussed up as usual. 

of laughing at everything, because it animates the 
brain, stimulates the lungs, beautifies the counte- 
nance, and for the moment, good-bye, Eaja Yikram ! ' 
The warrior king, being forewarned this time, 
shifted the bundle containing the Baital from his 
back to under his arm, where he pressed it with all 
his might. 


This proceeding, however, did not prevent the 
Yampire from slipping back to his tree, and leaving 
an empty cloth with the Raja. 

Presently the demon was trussed up as usual ; a 
voice sounded behind Yikram, and the loquacious 
thing again began to talk. 




ON the lovely banks of Jumna's stream there was a 
city known as Dharmasthal the Place of Duty ; and 
therein dwelt a certain Brahman called Keshav. He 
was a very pious man, in the constant habit of per- 
forming penance and worship upon the river Sidi. He 
modelled his own clay images instead of buying them 
from others ; he painted holy stones red at the top, 
and made to them offerings of flowers, fruit, water, 
sweetmeats, and fried peas. He had become a learned 
man somewhat late in life, having, until twenty years 
old, neglected his reading, and addicted himself to 
worshipping the beautiful youth Kama-deva l and 
Eati his wife, accompanied by the cuckoo, the 
humming-bee, and sweet breezes. 

One day his parents having rebuked him sharply 
for his ungovernable conduct, Keshav wandered to a 
neighbouring hamlet, and hid himself in the tall fig- 
tree which shadowed a celebrated image of Pancha- 

1 Cupid. His wife Eati is the spring personified. The Hindu 
poets always unite love and spring, and perhaps physiologically they 
are correct. 


nan. 1 Presently an evil thought arose in his head : 
he defiled the god, and threw him into the nearest 

The next morning, when the person arrived whose 
livelihood depended on the image, he discovered that 
his god was gone. He returned into the village dis- 
tracted, and all was soon in an uproar about the lost 

In the midst of this confusion the parents of Keshav 
arrived, seeking for their son ; and a man in the 
crowd declared that he had seen a young man sitting 
in Panchanan's tree, but what had become of the god 
he knew not. 

The runaway at length appeared, and the suspicions 
of the villagers fell upon him as the stealer of Pan- 
chanan. He confessed the fact, pointed out the place 
where he had thrown the stone, and added that he 
had polluted the god. All hands and eyes were 
raised in amazement at this atrocious crime, and 
every one present declared that Panchanan would 
certainly punish the daring insult by immediate death. 
Keshav was dreadfully frightened ; he began to obey 
his parents from that very hour, and applied to his 
studies so sedulously that he soon became the most 
learned man of his country. 

1 An incarnation of the third person of the Hindu Triad, or Trium- 
virate, Shiva the God of Destruction, the Indian Bacchus. The image 
has five faces, and each face has three eyes. In Bengal it is found in 
many villages, and the women warn their children not to touch it 
on pain of being killed. 


Now Keshav the Brahman had a daughter whose 
name was the Madhumalati or Sweet Jasmine. She 
was very beautiful. Whence did the gods procure 
the materials to form so exquisite a face ? They took 
a portion of the most excellent part of the moon to 
form that beautiful face ! Does any one seek a proof 
of this ? Let him look at the empty places left in 
the moon. Her eyes resembled the full-blown blue 
nymphsea ; her arms the charming stalk of the lotus ; 
her flowing tresses the thick darkness of night. 

When this lovely person arrived at a marriageable 
age, her mother, father, and brother, all three be- 
came very anxious about her. For the wise have 
said, ' A daughter nubile but without husband is 
ever a calamity hanging over a house.' And, ' Kings, 
women, and climbing plants love those who are near 
them.' Also, ' Who is there that has not suffered 
from the sex ? for a woman cannot be kept in due 
subjection, either by gifts or kindness, or correct 
conduct, or the greatest services, or the laws of 
morality, or by the terror of punishment, for she 
cannot discriminate between good and evil.' 

It so happened that one day Keshav the Brahman 
went to the marriage of a certain customer of his, 1 
and his son repaired to the house of a spiritual 
preceptor in order to read. During their absence, a 
young man came to the house, when the Sweet 

1 A village Brahman on stated occasions receives fees from all the 


Jasmine's mother, inferring his good qualities from 
his good looks, said to him, i I will give to thee my 
daughter in marriage.' The father also had promised 
his daughter to a Brahman youth whom he had met 
at the house of his employer ; and the brother like- 
wise had betrothed his sister to a fellow student at 
the place where he had gone to read. 

After some days father and son came home, ac- 
companied by these two suitors, and in the house 
a third was already seated. The name of the first 
was Tribikram, of the second Baman, and of the 
third Madhusadan. The three were equal in mind 
and body, in knowledge, and in age. 

Then the father, looking upon them, said to him- 
self, ' Ho ! there is one bride and three bridegrooms ; 
to whom shall I give, and to whom shall I not give ? 
We three have pledged our word to these three. 
A strange circumstance has occurred ; what must 
we do ? ' 

He then proposed to them a trial of wisdom, and 
made them agree that he who should quote the most 
excellent saying of the wise should become his 
daughter's husband. 

Quoth Tribikram : ' Courage is tried in war ; in- 
tegrity in the payment of debt and interest ; friend- 
ship in distress ; and the faithfulness of a wife in 
the day of poverty.' 

Baman proceeded: 'That woman is destitute of 
virtue who in her father's house is not in subjection, 


who wanders to feasts and amusements, who throws 
off her veil in the presence of men, who remains as 
a guest in the houses of strangers, who is much 
devoted to sleep, who drinks inebriating beverages, 
and who delights in distance from her husband.' 

' Let none,' pursued Madhusadan, t confide in the 
sea, nor in whatever has claws or horns, or who 
carries deadly weapons ; neither in a woman, nor in 
a king.' 

Whilst the Brahman was doubting which to pre- 
fer, and rather inclining to the latter sentiment, a 
serpent bit the beautiful girl, and in a few hours she 

Stunned by this awful sudden death, the father 
and the three suitors sat for a time motionless. 
They then arose, used great exertions, and brought 
all kinds of sorcerers, wise men and women who 
charm away poisons by incantations. These having 
seen the girl said, c She cannot return to life.' The 
first declared, ( A person always dies who has been 
bitten by a snake on the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 
and fourteenth days of the lunar month.' The 
second asserted, f One who has been bitten on a 
Saturday or a Tuesday does not survive.' The third 
opined, 'Poison infused during certain six lunar 
mansions cannot be got under.' Quoth the fourth, 
6 One who has been bitten in any organ of sense, the 
lower lip, the cheek, the neck, or the stomach, cannot 
escape death.' The fifth said, 'In this case even 


Brahma, the Creator, could not restore life of what 
account, then, are we ? Do you perform the funeral 
rites ; we will depart.' 

Thus saying, the sorcerers went their way. The 
mourning father took up his daughter's corpse and 
caused it to be burnt, in the place where dead bodies 
are usually burnt, and returned to his house. 

After that the three young men said to one 
another, 'We must now seek happiness elsewhere. 
And what better can we do than obey the words of 
Indra, the God of Air, who spake thus ? 

' " For a man who does not travel about there is 
no felicity, and a good man who stays at home is a 
bad man. Indra is the friend of him who travels. 
Travel ! 

t " A traveller's legs are like blossoming branches, 
and he himself grows and gathers the fruit. All 
his wrongs vanish, destroyed by his exertion on the 
roadside. Travel ! 

' " The fortune of a man who sits, sits also ; it 
rises when he rises ; it sleeps when he sleeps ; it 
moves well when he moves. Travel ! 

' " A man who sleeps is like the Iron Age. A 
man who awakes is like the Bronze Age. A man 
who rises up is like the Silver Age. A man who 
travels is like the Golden Age. Travel ! 

4 " A traveller finds honey ; a traveller finds sweet 
figs. Look at the happiness of the sun, who travel- 
ling never tires. Travel ! " 



Before parting they divided the relics of the be- 
loved one, and then they went their way. 

Tribikram, having separated and tied up the burnt 
bones, became one of the Yaisheshikas, in those 
days a powerful sect. He solemnly forswore the 
eight great crimes, namely : feeding at night ; slay- 
ing any animal ; eating the fruit of trees that give 
milk, or pumpkins or young bamboos ; tasting honey 
or flesh ; plundering the wealth of others ; taking 
by force a married woman; eating flowers, butter, 
or cheese; and worshipping the gods of other re- 
ligions. He learned that the highest act of virtue 
is to abstain from doing injury to sentient creatures ; 
that crime does not justify the destruction of life ; 
and that kings, as the administrators of criminal 
justice, are the greatest of sinners. He professed 
the five vows of total abstinence from falsehood, 
eating flesh or fish, theft, drinking spirits, and 
marriage. He bound himself to possess nothing 
beyond a white loin-cloth, a towel to wipe the mouth, 
a beggar's dish, and a brush of woollen threads to 
sweep the ground for fear of treading on insects. 
And he was ordered to fear secular affairs; the 
miseries of a future state ; the receiving from others 
more than the food of a day at once ; all accidents ; 
provisions, if connected with the destruction of 
animal life ; death and disgrace ; also to please all, 
and to obtain compassion from all. 

He attempted to banish his love. He said to 


himself, ' Surely it was owing only to my pride and 
selfishness that I ever looked upon a woman as 
capable of affording happiness ; and I thought, 
" Ah ! ah ! thine eyes roll about like the tail of the 
water-wagtail, thy lips resemble the ripe fruit, thy 
bosom is like the lotus buds, thy form is resplendent 
as gold melted in a crucible, the moon wanes through 
desire to imitate the shadow of thy face, thou re- 
semblest the pleasure-house of Cupid ; the happiness 
of all time is concentrated in thee; a touch from 
thee would surely give life to a dead image ; at thy 
approach a living admirer would be changed by joy 
into a lifeless stone ; obtaining thee I can face all 
the horrors of war; and were I pierced by showers 
of arrows, one glance of thee would heal all my 

' My mind is now averted from the world. Seeing 
her I say, " Is this the form by which men are 
bewitched ? This is a basket covered with skin ; it 
contains bones, flesh, blood, and impurities. The 
stupid creature who is captivated by this is there 
a cannibal feeding in Currim a greater cannibal 
than he? These persons call a thing made up of 
impure matter a face, and drink its charms as a 
drunkard swallows the inebriating liquor from his 
cup. The blind, infatuated beings ! Why should 
I be pleased or displeased with this body, composed 
of flesh and blood? It is my duty to seek Him 
who is the Lord of this body, and to disregard 



everything which gives rise either to pleasure or to 

Baman, the second suitor, tied up a bundle of his 
beloved one's ashes, and followed somewhat pre- 
maturely the precepts of the great lawgiver Manu. 
e When the father of a family perceives his muscles 
becoming flaccid, and his hair grey, and sees the 
child of his child, let him then take refuge in a 

Baman, the second suitor, tied up a bundle and followed. 

forest. Let him take up his consecrated fire and all 
his domestic implements for making oblations to it, 
and, departing from the town to the lonely wood, let 
him dwell in it with complete power over his organs 
of sense and of action. With many sorts of pure 
food, such as holy sages used to eat, with green 
herbs, roots, and fruit, let him perform the five great 
sacraments, introducing them with due ceremonies. 



Let him wear a black antelope-hide, or a vesture of 
bark ; let him bathe evening and morning ; let him 
suffer the hair of his head, his beard and his nails to 
grow continually. Let him slide backwards and 
forwards on the ground ; or let him stand a whole 
day on tiptoe ; or let him continue in motion, rising 
and sitting alternately ; but at sunrise, at noon, and 

Meanwhile Madhusadan, the tfiird, became a Jogi. 

at sunset, let him go to the waters and bathe. In 
the hot season let him sit exposed to five fires, four 
blazing around him, with the sun above ; in the 
rains, let him stand uncovered, without even a man- 
tle, where the clouds pour the heaviest showers ; in 
the cold season let him wear damp clothes, and let 
him increase by degrees the austerity of his devotions. 
Then, having reposited his holy fires, as the law 


directs, in his mind, let him live without external 
fire, without a mansion, wholly silent, feeding on 
roots and fruit.' 

Meanwhile Madhusadan the third, having taken a 
wallet a,nd neckband, became a Jogi, and began to 
wander far and wide, living on nothing but chaff, 
and practising his devotions. In order to see Bramha 
he attended to the following duties : 1. Hearing ; 2. 
Meditation ; 3. Fixing the Mind ; 4. Absorbing the 
Mind. He combated the three evils, restlessness, 
injuriousness, voluptuousness, by settling the Deity 
in his spirit, by subjecting his senses, and by de- 
stroying desire. Thus he would do away with the 
illusion (Maya) which conceals all true knowledge. 
He repeated the name of the Deity till it appeared 
to him in the form of a Dry Light or glory. Though 
connected with the affairs of life, that is, with affairs 
belonging to a body containing blood, bones, and 
impurities ; to organs which are blind, palsied, and 
full of weakness and error ; to a mind filled with 
thirst, hunger, sorrow, infatuation; to confirmed 
habits, and to the fruits of former births : still he 
strove not to view these things as realities. He 
made a companion of a dog, honouring it with his 
own food, so as the better to think on spirit. He 
practised all the five operations connected with the 
vital air, or air collected in the body. He attended 
much to Pranayama, or the gradual suppression of 
breathing, and he secured fixedness of mind as follows. 


By placing his sight and thoughts on the tip of his 
nose he perceived smell ; on the tip of his tongue he 
realised taste, on the root of his tongue he knew sound, 
and so forth. He practised the eighty- four Asana or 
postures, raising his hand to the wonders of the 
heavens, till he felt no longer the inconveniences of 
heat or cold, hunger or thirst. He particularly pre- 
ferred the Padrna or lotus-posture which consists of 
bringing the feet to the sides, holding the right in 
the left hand and the left in the right. In the work 
of suppressing his breath he permitted its respira- 
tion to reach at furthest twelve fingers' breadth, and 
gradually diminished the distance from his nostrils 
till he could confine it to the length of twelve fingers 
from his nose, and even after restraining it for some 
time he would draw it from no greater distance than 
from his heart. As respects time, he began by retain- 
ing inspiration for twenty-six seconds, and he enlarged 
this period gradually till he became perfect. He sat 
cross-legged, closing with his fingers all the avenues 
of inspiration, and he practised Prityahara, or the 
power of restraining the members of the body and 
mind, with meditation and concentration, to which 
there are four enemies, viz. a sleepy heart, human 
passions, a confused mind, and attachment to any- 
thing but the one Bramha. He also cultivated Yama, 
that is, inoffensiveness, truth, honesty, the forsaking 
of all evil in the world, and the refusal of gifts except 
for sacrifice, and Nihama, i.e. purity relative to the 


use of water after defilement, pleasure in everything 
whether in prosperity or adversity, renouncing food 
when hungry, and keeping down the body. Thus 
delivered from these four enemies of the flesh, he 
resembled the unruffled flame of the lamp, and by 
Bramhagnana, or meditating on the Deity, placing 
his mind on the sun, moon, fire, or any other lumi- 
nous body, or within his heart, or at the bottom of 
his throat, or in the centre of his skull, he was 
enabled to ascend from gross images of omnipotence 
to the works and the divine wisdom of the glorious 

One day Madhusadan, the Jogi, went to a certain 
house for food, and the householder having seen him 
began to say, ' Be so good as to take your food here 
this day ! ' The visitor sat down, and when the 
victuals were ready, the host caused his feet and 
hands to be washed, and leading him to the Chauka, 
or square place upon which meals are served, seated 
him and sat by him. And he quoted the scripture : 
6 No guest must be dismissed in the evening by a 
housekeeper : he is sent by the returning sun, and 
whether he come in fit season or unseasonably, he 
must not sojourn in the house without entertainment : 
let me not eat any delicate food, without asking my 
guest to partake of it : the satisfaction of a guest 
will assuredly bring the housekeeper wealth, reputa- 
tion, long life, and a place in heaven.' 

The householder's wife then came to serve up the 

The householder's wife came to serve up the food, rice and split peas. 


food, rice and split peas, oil, and spices, all cooked in 
a new earthen pot with pure firewood. Part of the 
meal was served and the rest remained to be served, 
when the woman's little child began to cry aloud 
and to catch hold of its mother's dress. She endea- 
voured to release herself, but the boy would not let 
go, and the more she coaxed the more he cried, and 
was obstinate. On this the mother became angry, 
took up the boy and threw him upon the fire, which 
instantly burnt him to ashes. 

Madhusadan, the Jogi, seeing this, rose up without 
eating. The master of the house said to him, ' Why 
eatest thou not ? ' He replied, 4 1 am " Atithi," that 
is to say, to be entertained at your house, but how 
can one eat under the roof of a person who has 
committed such a Rakshasa-like (devilish) deed ? Is 
it not said, " He who does not govern his passions, 
lives in vain ? " "A foolish king, a person puffed 
up with riches, and a weak child, desire that which 
cannot be procured." Also, "A king destroys his 
enemies, even when flying ; and the touch of an 
elephant, as well as the breath of a serpent, are fatal ; 
but the wicked destroy even while laughing." 3 

Hearing this, the householder smiled; presently 
he arose and went to another part of the tenement, 
and brought back with him a book, treating on San- 
jivnividya, or the science of restoring the dead to life. 
This he had taken from its hidden place, two beams 
almost touching one another with the ends in the 


opposite wall. The precious volume was in single 
leaves, some six inches broad by treble that length, 
and the paper was stained with yellow orpinient and 
the juice of tamarind seeds to keep away insects. 

The householder opened the cloth containing the 
book, untied the flat boards at the top and bottom, 
and took out from it a charm. Having repeated this 
Mantra, with many ceremonies he at once restored 
the child to life, saying, ' Of all precious things, 
knowledge is the most valuable ; other riches may be 
stolen, or diminished by expenditure, but knowledge is 
immortal, and the greater the expenditure the greater 
the increase ; it can be shared with none, and it defies 
the power of the thief.' 

The Jogi, seeing this marvel, took thought in his 
heart, c If I could obtain that book, I would restore 
my beloved to life, and give up this course of uncom- 
fortable postures and difficulty of breathing.' With 
this resolution he sat down to his food, and remained 
in the house. 

At length night came, and after a time, all having 
eaten supper, and gone to their sleeping-places, lay 
down. The Jogi also went to rest in one part of the 
house, but did not allow sleep to close his eyes. 
When he thought that a fourth part of the hours of 
darkness had sped, and that all were deep in slumber, 
then he got up very quietly, and going into the room 
of the master of the house, he took down the book 
from the beam-ends and went his ways. proceeded to make his incantations, despite terrible 
sights in the air. 


Madhusadan, the Jogi, went straight to the place 
where the beautiful Sweet Jasmine had been burned. 
There he found his two rivals sitting talking together 
and comparing experiences. They recognised him at 
once, and cried aloud to him, ' Brother ! thou also 
hast been wandering over the world ; tell us this 
hast thou learned anything which can profit us?' He 
replied, ( I have learned the science of restoring the 
dead to life ; ' upon which they both exclaimed, c If 
thou hast really learned such knowledge, restore our 
beloved to life.' 

Madhusadan proceeded to make his incantations, 
despite terrible sights in the air, the cries of jackals, 
owls, crows, cats, asses, vultures, dogs, and lizards, 
and the wrath of innumerable invisible beings, such 
as messengers of Yam a (Pluto), ghosts, devils, de- 
mons, imps, fiends, devas, succubi, and others. All 
the three lovers drawing blood from their own bodies 
offered it to the goddess Chandi, repeating the fol- 
lowing incantation, ( Hail ! supreme delusion ! Hail ! 
goddess of the universe.! Hail ! thou who fulfillest 
the desires of all. May I presume to offer thee the 
blood of my body ; and wilt thou deign to accept it, 
and be propitious towards me ! ' 

They then made a burnt-offering of their flesh, and 
each one prayed, ' Grant me, goddess ! to see the 
maiden alive again, in proportion to the fervency with 
which I present thee with mine own flesh, invoking 
thee to be propitious to me. Salutation to thee 


again and again, under the mysterious syllables ang ! 

Then they made a heap of the bones and the ashes, 
which had been carefully kept by Tribikram and 
Baman. As the Jogi Madhusadan proceeded with 
his incantation, a white vapour arose from the ground, 
and, gradually condensing, assumed a perispiritual 
form the fluid envelope of the soul. The three 
spectators felt their blood freeze as the bones and the 
ashes were gradually absorbed into the before shadowy 
shape, and they were restored to themselves only 
when the maiden Madhuvati begged to be taken home 
to her mother. 

Then Kama, God of Love, blinded them, and they 
began fiercely to quarrel about who should have the 
beautiful maid. Each wanted to be her sole master. 
Tribikram. declared the bones to be the great fact of 
the incantation ; Baman swore by the ashes ; and 
Madhusadan laughed them both to scorn. No one 
could decide the dispute ; the wisest doctors were all 
nonplussed ; and as for the Raja well ! we do not 
go for wit or wisdom to kings. I wonder if the great 
Raja Yikram could decide which person the woman 
belonged to ? 

' To Baman, the man who kept her ashes, fellow ! ' 
exclaimed the hero, not a little offended by the free 
remarks of the fiend. 

' Yet,' rejoined the Baital impudently, 6 if Tribi- 
kram had not preserved her bones how could she have 

Tekram place 1 his b :n lie upon the ground, and seated himself 
cross-logged before it. 


been restored to life ? And if Madhusadan had not 
learned the science of restoring the dead to life how 
could she have been revivified ? At least, so it 
seems to me. But perhaps your royal wisdom may 

' Devil ! ' said the king angrily, ' Tribikram, who 
preserved her bones, by that act placed himself in 
the position of her son ; therefore he could not marry 
her. Madhusadan, who, restoring her to life, gave 
her life, was evidently a father to her ; he could not, 
then, become her husband. Therefore she was the 
wife of Baman, who had collected her ashes.' 

1 1 arn happy to see, king,' exclaimed the Vam- 
pire, c that, in spite of my presentiments, we are not 
to part company just yet. These little trips I hold 
to be, like lovers' quarrels, the prelude to closer 
union. With your leave we will still practise a little 

And so saying, the Baital again ascended the tree, 
and was suspended there. 

6 Would it not be better,' thought the monarch, 
after recapturing and shouldering the fugitive, * for 
me to sit down this time and listen to the fellow's 
story ? Perhaps the double exercise of walking and 
thinking confuses me.' 

With this idea Vikram placed his bundle upon the 
ground, well tied up with turban and waistband ; then 
he seated himself cross-legged before it, and bade his 
son do the same. 


The Vampire strongly objected to this measure, as 
it was contrary, he asserted, to the covenant between 
him and the Raja. Yikram replied by citing the very 
words of the agreement, proving that there was no 
allusion to walking or sitting. 

Then the Baital became sulky, and swore that he 
would not utter another word. But he, too, was 
bound by the chain of destiny. Presently he opened 
his lips, with the normal prelude that he was about 
to tell a true tale. 




THE Baital resumed. 

Of all the learned Brahmans in the learnedest 
university of Gaur (Bengal) none was so celebrated 
as Yishnu Swami. He could write verse as well as 
prose in dead languages, not very correctly, but still, 
better than all his fellows which constituted him a 
distinguished writer. He had history, theosophy, 
and the four Yedas or Scriptures at his fingers' ends, 
he was skilled in the argute science of Nyasa or Dis- 
putation, his mind was a mine of Pauranic or cosmo- 
gonico-traditional lore, handed down from the ancient 
fathers to the modern fathers : and he had written 
bulky commentaries, exhausting all that tongue of 
man has to say, upon the obscure text of some old 
philosopher whose works upon ethics, poetry, and 
rhetoric were supposed by the sages of Gaur to con- 
tain the germs of everything knowable. His fame 
went over all the country; yea, from country to 
country. He was a sea of excellent qualities, the 
father and mother of Brahmans, cows, and women, 


and the horror of loose persons, cut- throats, courtiers, 
and courtesans. As a benefactor he was equal to 
Kama, most liberal of heroes. In regard to truth 
he was equal to the veracious king Yudhishtira. 

True, he was sometimes at a loss to spell a common 
word in his mother tongue, and whilst he knew to a 
fingerbreadth how many palms and paces the sun, 
the moon, and all the stars are distant from the earth, 
he would have been puzzled to tell you where the 
region called Yavana l lies. Whilst he could enu- 
merate, in strict chronological succession, every 
important event that happened five or six million 
years before he was born, he was profoundly ignorant 
of those that occurred in his own day. And once he 
asked a friend seriously, if a cat let loose in the 
jungle would not in time become a tiger. 

Yet did all the members of alma mater Kasi, 
Pandits 2 as well as students, look with awe upon 
Yishnu Swami's livid cheeks, and lack-lustre eyes, 
grimed hands and soiled cottons. 

Now it so happened that this wise and pious 
Brahmanic peer had four sons, whom he brought up 
in the strictest and most serious way. They were 
taught to repeat their prayers long before they 
understood a word of them, and when they reached 

1 The land of Greece. 

2 Savans, professors. So in the old saying, ' Hanta, Pandit Sansara.' 
Alas ! the world is learned ! This a little antedates the well-known 


the age of four l they had read a variety of hymns 
and spiritual songs. Then they were set to learn 
by heart precepts that inculcate sacred duties, and 
arguments relating to theology, abstract and con- 

Their father,, who was also their tutor, sedulously 
cultivated, as all the best works upon education 
advise, their implicit obedience, humble respect, 
warm attachment, and the virtues and sentiments 
generally. He praised them secretly and reprehended 
them openly, to exercise their humility. He derided 
their looks, and dressed them coarsely, to preserve 
them from vanity and conceit. Whenever they 
anticipated a 'treat,' he punctually disappointed 
them, to teach . them self-denial. Often when he 
had promised them a present, he would revoke, not 
break his word, in order that discipline might have 
a name and habitat in his household. And knowing 
by experience how much stronger than love is fear, 
he frequently threatened, browbeat, and overawed 
them with the rod and the tongue, with the terrors of 
this world, and with the horrors of the next, that 
they might be kept in the right way by dread of 
falling into the bottomless pits that bound it on both 
sides. .. . ?. "'' 

At the age of six they were transferred to the 

1 Children are commonly sent to school at the age of five. Girls are 
riot taught to read, under the common idea that they will become widows 
if they do. 


Chatushpati, 1 or school. Every morning the teacher 
and his pupils assembled in the hut where the dif- 
ferent classes were called up by turns. They laboured 
till noon, and were allowed only two hours, a moiety 
of the usual time, for bathing, eating, sleep, and 
worship, which took up half the period. At 3 P.M. 
they resumed their labours, repeating to the tutor 
what they had learned by heart, and listening to 
the meaning of it : this lasted till twilight. They 
then worshipped, ate and drank for an hour : after 
which came a return of study, repeating the day's 
lessons, till 10 P.M. 

In their rare days of ease for the learned priest, 
mindful of the words of the wise, did not wish to 
dull them by everlasting work they were enjoined 
to disport themselves with the gravity and the 
decorum that befit young Samditats, not to engage 
in night frolics, not to use free jests or light expres- 
sions, not to draw pictures on the walls, not to eat 
honey, flesh, and sweet substances turned acid, not 
to talk to little girls at the well-side, on no account 
to wear sandals, carry an umbrella, or handle a die 
,even for love, and by no means to steal their neigh- 
bours' mangos. 

As they advanced in years their attention during 
work time was unremittingly directed to the Vedas. 
Worldly studies were almost excluded, or to speak 
more correctly, whenever worldly studies were brought 

1 Meaning the place of reading the four Shastras. 


upon the carpet, they were so evil entreated, that 
they well nigh lost all form and feature. History 
became ' The Annals of India on Brahminical Prin- 
ciples/ opposed to the Buddhistical ; geography 
' The Lands of the Yedas,' none other being deemed 
worthy of notice ; and law, ' The Institutes of Manu,' 
then almost obsolete, despite their exceeding sanc- 

But Jatu-harini l had evidently changed these chil- 
dren before they were born ; and Shani 2 must have 
been in the ninth mansion when they came to light. 

Each youth as he attained the mature age of 
twelve was formally entered at the University of 
Kasi, where, without loss of time, the first became a 
gambler, the second a confirmed libertine, the third 
a thief, and the fourth a high Buddhist, or in other 
words an utter atheist. 

Here King Vikram frowned at his son, a hint that 
he had better not behave himself as the children of 
highly moral and religious parents usually do. The 
young prince understood him, and briefly remarking 
that such things were common in distinguished 
Brahman families, asked the Baital what he meant 
by the word ' Atheist ? ' 

Of a truth (answered the Vampire) it is most diffi- 

1 A certain goddess who plays tricks with mankind. If a son when 
grown up act differently from what his parents did, people say that he 
has been changed in the womb. 

8 Shani is the planet Saturn, which has an exceedingly baleful influ- 
ence in India as elsewhere. 


cult to explain. The sages assign to it three or four 
several meanings : first, one who denies that the 
gods exist ; secondly, one who owns that the gods 
exist but denies that they busy themselves with 
human affairs ; and thirdly, one who believes in the 
gods and in their providence, but also believes that 
they are easily to be set aside. Similarly some 
atheists derive all things from dead and unintelligent 
matter ; others from matter living and energetic but 
without sense or will ; others from matter with forms 
and qualities generable and conceptible ; and others 
from a plastic and methodical nature. Thus the 
Yishnu Swamis of the world have invested the sub- 
ject with some confusion. The simple, that is to 
say, the mass of mortality, have confounded that 
confusion by reproachfully applying the word atheist 
to those whose opinions differ materially from their 

But I being at present, perhaps happily for myself, 
a Yampire, and having, just now, none of these 
human or inhuman ideas, meant simply to say that 
the pious priest's fourth son being great at second 
and small in the matter of first causes, adopted to 
their fullest extent the doctrines of the philosophical 
Bauddhas. 1 Nothing according to him exists but 
the five elements, earth, water, fire, air (or wind), 
and vacuum, and from the last proceeded the penulti- 

1 The Eleatic or Materialistic school of Hindu philosophy, which 
agrees to explode an intelligent separate First Cause. 


mate, and so forth. With the sage Patanjali, he 
held the universe to have the power of perpe- 
tual progression. 1 He called that Matra (matter), 
which is an eternal and infinite principle, beginning- 
less and endless. Organisation, intelligence, and 
design, he opined are inherent in matter as growth 
is in a tree. He did not believe in soul or spirit, 
because it could not be detected in the body, and be- 
cause it was a departure from physiological analogy. 
The idea 'I am,' according to him, was not the iden- 
tification of spirit with matter, but a product of the 
mutation of matter in this cloud -like, error- formed 
world. He believed in Substance (Sat) and scoffed at 
Unsubstance (Asat). He asserted the subtlety and 
globularity of atoms which are uncreate. He made 
mind and intellect a mere secretion of the brain, or 
rather words expressing not a thing, but a state of 
things. Reason was to him developed instinct, and 
life an element of the atmosphere affecting certain 
organisms. He held good and evil to be merely 
geographical and chronological expressions, and he 
opined that what is called Evil is mostly an active and 
transitive form of Good. Law was his great Creator 
of all things, but he refused a creator of law, because 
such a creator would require another creator, and so 
on in a quasi-interminable series up to absurdity. 

1 The writings of this school give an excellent view of the ' progressive 
system,' which has popularly been asserted to be a modern idea. But 
Hindu philosophy seems to have exhausted every fancy that can spring 
from the brain of man. 


This reduced his law to a manner of haphazard. To 
those who, arguing against it, asked him their favour- 
ite question, How often might a man after he had 
jumbled a set of letters in a bag fling them out upon 
the ground before they would fall into an exact 
poem? he replied that the calculation was beyond 
his arithmetic, but that the man had only to jumble 
and fling long enough inevitably to arrive at that 
end. He rejected the necessity as well as the exist- 
ence of revelation, and he did not credit the miracles 
of Krishna, because, according to him, nature never 
suspends her laws, and, moreover, he had never 
seen aught supernatural. He ridiculed the idea of 
Mahapralaya, or the great destruction, for as the 
world had no beginning, so it will have no end. He 
objected to absorption, facetiously observing with the 
sage Jamadagni, that it was pleasant to eat sweet- 
meats, but that for his part he did not wish to become 
the sweetmeat itself. He would not believe that 
Vishnu had formed the universe out of the wax in his 
ears. He positively asserted that trees are not bodies 
in which the consequences of merit and demerit are 
received. Nor would he conclude that to men were 
attached rewards and punishments from all eternity. 
He made light of the Sanskara, or sacrament. He 
admitted Satwa, Raja, and Tama, 1 but only as pro- 

1 Tama is the natural state of matter, Kaja is passion acting upon 
nature, and Satwa is excellence. These are the three gunas or qualities 
of matter. 


perties of matter. He acknowledged gross matter 
(Sthula-sharir), and atomic matter (Shukshma-sharir), 
but not Linga-sharir, or the archetype of bodies. To 
doubt all things was the foundation of his theory, and 
to scoff at all who would not doubt was the corner- 
stone of his practice. In debate he preferred logical 
and mathematical grounds, requiring a categorical 
6 because ' in answer to his ' why ? ' He was full of 
morality and natural religion, which some say is no 
religion at all. He gained the name of atheist by 
declaring with Gotama that there are innumerable 
worlds, that the earth has nothing beneath it but the 
circumambient air, and that the core of the globe is 
incandescent. And he was called a practical atheist 
a worse form, apparently for supporting the fol- 
lowing dogma : ' that though creation may attest that 
a creator has been, it supplies no evidence to prove 
that a creator still exists.' On which occasion, 
Shiromani, a nonplussed theologian, asked him, ' By 
whom and for what purpose wast thou sent on earth ? ' 
The youth scoffed at the word ' sent,' and replied, 
' Not being thy Supreme Intelligence, or Infinite 
Nihility, I am unable to explain the phenomenon.' 
Upon which he quoted 

How sunk in darkness Gaur must be 
Whose guide is blind Shiromani ! 

At length it so happened that the four young men, 
having frequently been surprised in flagrant delict, 


were summoned to the dread presence of the university 
Gurus, 1 who addressed them as follows : 

' There are four different characters in the world : 
he who perfectly obeys the commands ; he who 
practises the commands, but follows evil ; he who 
does neither good nor evil ; and he who does nothing 
but evil. The third character, it is observed, is also 
an offender, for he neglects that which he ought to 
observe. But ye all belong to the fourth category.' 

Then turning to the elder they said : 

' In works written upon the subject of government 
it is advised, " Cut off the gambler's nose and ears, 
hold up his name to public contempt, and drive him 
out of the country, that he may thus become an ex- 
ample to others. For they who play must more often 
lose than win ; and losing, they must either pay or 
not pay. In the latter case they forfeit caste, in the 
former they utterly reduce themselves. And though 
a gambler's wife and children are in the house, do not 
consider them to be so, since it is not known when 
they will be lost. 2 Thus he is left in a state of perfect 
not-twoness (solitude), and he will be reborn in hell." 
O young man ! thou hast set a bad example to others, 
therefore shalt thou immediately exchange this uni- 
versity for a country life.' 

1 Spiritual preceptors and learned men. 

2 Under certain limitations, gambling is allowed by Hindu law, and 
the winner has power over the person and property of the loser. No 
' debts of honour ' in Hindostan ! 


Then they spoke to the second offender thus : 
f The wise shun woman, who can fascinate a man 
in the twinkling of an eye ; but the foolish, conceiv- 
ing an affection for her, forfeit in the pursuit of 
pleasure their truthfulness, reputation, and good dis- 
position, their way of life and mode of thought, their 
vows and their religion. And to such the advice of 
their spiritual teachers comes amiss, whilst they 
make others as bad as themselves. For it is said, 
" He who has lost all sense of shame, fears not to 
disgrace another ; " and there is the proverb, " A 
wild cat that devours its own young is not likely to 
let a rat escape ; " therefore must thou too, O young 
man ! quit this seat of learning with all possible ex- 

The young man proceeded to justify himself by 
quotations from the Lila-shastra, his text-book, by 
citing such lines as 

Fortune favours folly and force, 

and by advising the elderly professors to improve 
their skill in the peace and war of love. But they 
drove him out with execrations. 

As sagely and as solemnly did the Pandits and the 
Gurus reprove the thief and the atheist, but they 
did not dispense the words of wisdom in equal pro- 
portions. They warned the former that petty larceny 
is punishable with fine, theft on a larger scale with 
mutilation of the hand, and robbery, when detected 


in the act, with loss of life ; l that for cutting purses, 
or for snatching them out of a man's waistcloth, 2 the 
first penalty is chopping off the fingers, the second 
is the loss of the hand, and the third is death. Then 
they called him a dishonour to the college, and they 
said, ' Thou art as a woman, the greatest of plun- 
derers ; other robbers purloin property which is 
worthless, thou stealest the best ; they plunder in 
the night, thou in the day,' and so forth. They told 
him that he was a fellow who had read his Chauriya 
Vidya to more purpose than his ritual. 3 And they 
drove him from the door as he in his shamelessness 
began to quote texts about the four approved ways 
of housebreaking, namely, picking out burnt bricks, 
cutting through unbaked bricks, throwing water on 
a mud wall, and boring one of wood with a centre- 

But they spent six mortal hours in convicting the 
atheist, whose abominations they refuted by every 
possible argumentation: by inference, by compari- 
son, and by sounds, by Sruti and Smriti, i.e. revela- 
tional and traditional, rational and evidential, physical 
and metaphysical, analytical and synthetical, philo- 
sophical and philological, historical, and so forth. 

1 Quotations from standard works on Hindu criminal law, which in 
some points at least is almost as absurd as our civilised codes. 

2 Hindus carry their money tied up in a kind of sheet, which is 
wound round the waist and thrown over the shoulder. 

8 A thieves' manual in the Sanskrit tongue ; it aspires to the dignity 
of a ' Scripture.' 


But they found all their endeavours vain. ( For/ it 
is said, ' a man who has lost all shame, who can talk 
without sense, and who tries to cheat his opponent, 
will never get tired, and will never be put down.' He 
declared that a non-ad was far more probable than a 
monad (the active principle), or the duad (the passive 
principle or matter). He compared their faith with 
a bubble in the water, of which we can never predi- 
cate that it does exist or it does not. It is, he said, 
unreal, as when the thirsty mistakes the meadow 
mist for a pool of water. He proved the eternity of 
sound. 1 He impudently recounted and justified all 
the villanies of the Yamachari or left-handed sects. 
He told them that they had taken up an ass's load 
of religion, and had better apply to honest industry. 
He fell foul of the gods ; accused Yama of kicking 
his own mother, Indra of tempting the wife of his 
spiritual guide, and Shiva of associating with low 
women. Thus, he said, no one can respect them. 
Do not we say when it thunders awfully, ( the rascally 
gods are dying ! ' And when it is too wet, * these 
villain gods are sending too much rain ? ' Briefly, the 
young Brahman replied to and harangued them all 
so impertinently, if not pertinently, that they, waxing 
angry, fell upon him with their staves, and drove 
him out of assembly. 

Then the four thriftless youths returned home to 

1 All sounds, say the Hindus, are of similar origin, and they do not 
die ; if they did, they could not be remembered. 


their father, who in his just indignation had urged 
their disgrace upon the Pandits and Gurus, other- 
wise these dignitaries would never have resorted to 
such extreme measures with so distinguished a 
house. He took the opportunity of turning them 
out upon the world, until such time as they might 
be able to show substantial signs of reform. ' For,' 
he said, ' those who have read science in their boy- 
hood, and who in youth, agitated by evil passions, 
have remained in the insolence of ignorance, feel 
regret in their old age, and are consumed by the fire 
of avarice.' In order to supply them with a motive 
for the task proposed, he stopped their monthly 
allowance. But he added, if they would repair to 
the neighbouring university of Jayasthal, and there 
show themselves something better than a disgrace 
to their family, he would direct their maternal uncle 
to supply them with all the necessaries of food and 

In vain the youths attempted, with sighs and tears 
and threats of suicide, to soften the paternal heart. 
He was inexorable, for two reasons. In the first 
place, after wondering away the wonder with which 
he regarded his own failure, he felt that a stigma 
now attached to the name of the pious and learned 
Yishnu Swami, whose lectures upon 'Management 
during Teens,' and whose ' Brahman Young Man's 
Own Book, ' had become standard works. Secondly, 
from a sense of duty, he determined to omit nothing 


that might tend to reclaim the reprobates. As regards 
the monthly allowance being stopped, the reverend 
man had become every year a little fonder of his 
purse; he had hoped that his sons would have 
qualified themselves to take pupils, and thus achieve 
for themselves, as he phrased it, 'a genteel in- 
dependence ; ' whilst they openly derided the career, 
calling it 'an admirable provision for the more indi- 

They tried to live without a monthly allowance, and notably they failed. 

gent members of the middle classes.' For which 
reason he referred them to their maternal uncle, a 
man of known and remarkable penuriousness. 

The four ne'er-do-weels, foreseeing what awaited 
them at Jayasthal, deferred it as a last resource ; 
determining first to see a little life, and to push their 
way in the world, before condemning themselves to 
the tribulations of reform. 

They tried to live without a monthly allowance, 
and notably they failed ; it was squeezing, as men say, 


oil from sand. The gambler, having no capital, and, 
worse still, no credit, lost two or three suvernas l at 
play, and could not pay them; in consequence of 
which he was soundly beaten with iron-shod staves, 
and was nearly compelled by the keeper of the hell 
to sell himself into slavery. Thus he became dis- 
gusted ; and telling his brethren that they would 
find him at Jayasthal, he departed, with the intention 
of studying wisdom. 

A month afterwards came the libertine's turn to 
be disappointed. He could no longer afford fine new 
clothes; even a well-washed coat was beyond his 
means. He had reckoned upon his handsome face, 
and he had matured a plan for laying various elderly 
conquests under contribution. Judge, therefore, his 
disgust when all the women high and low, rich and 
poor, old and young, ugly and beautiful seeing the 
end of his waistcloth thrown empty over his shoulder, 
passed him in the streets without even deigning a look. 
The very shopkeepers' wives, who once had adored 
his mustachio and had never ceased talking of his 
' elegant ' gait, despised him ; and the wealthy old 
person who formerly supplied his small feet with the 
choicest slippers, left him to starve. Upon which he 
also, in a state of repentance, followed his brother to 
acquire knowledge. 

6 Am I not,' quoth the thief to himself, ( a cat in 
climbing, a deer in running, a snake in twisting, a 

1 Grold pieces. 


hawk in pouncing, a dog in scenting ? keen as a hare, 
tenacious as a wolf, strong as a lion ? a lamp in the 
night, a horse on a plain, a mule on a stony path, a 
boat in the water, a rock on land ? ' 1 The reply to 
his own questions was of course affirmative. But 
despite all these fine qualities, and notwithstanding 
his scrupulous strictness in invocating the house- 
breaking tool and in devoting a due portion of his 
gains to the gods of plunder, 2 he was caught in a 
store-room by the proprietor, who inexorably handed 
him over to justice. As he belonged to the priestly 
caste, 3 the fine imposed upon him was heavy. He 
could not pay it, and therefore he was thrown into a 
dungeon, where he remained for some time. But at 
last he escaped from jail, when he made his parting 
bow to Kartikeya,, 4 stole a blanket from one of the 
guards, and set out for Jayasthal, cursing his old 

The atheist also found himself in a position that 
deprived him of all his pleasures. He delighted in 

1 These are the qualifications specified by Hindu classical authorities 
as necessary to make a distinguished thief. 

2 Every Hindu is in a manner born to a certain line of life, virtuous 
or vicious, honest or dishonest ; and his Dharma, or religious duty, 
consists in conforming to the practice and the worship of his profession. 
The 'Thug,' for instance, worships Bhawani, who enables him to 
murder successfully ; and his remorse would arise from neglecting to 

8 Hindu law sensibly punishes, in theory at least, for the same offence 
the priest more severely than the layman a hint for him to practise 
what he preaches. 

4 The Hindu Mercury, god of rascals. 



after-dinner controversies, and in bringing tlie light 
troops of his wit to bear upon the unwieldy masses of 
lore and logic opposed to him by polemical Brahmans 
who, out of respect for his father, did not lay an 
action against him for overpowering them in theolo- 
gical disputation. 1 In the strange city to which he 
had removed no one knew the son of Yishnu Swami, 
and no one cared to invite him to the house. Once 
he attempted his usual trick upon a knot of sages who, 
sitting round a tank, were recreating themselves with 
quoting mystical Sanskrit shlokas 2 of abominable 
long-windedness. The result was his being obliged 
to ply his heels vigorously in flight from the justly 
incensed literati,, to whom he had said ' tush ' and 
6 pish, 3 at least a dozen times in as many minutes. 
He therefore also followed the example of his brethren, 
and started for Jayasthal with all possible expedi- 

Arrived at the house of their maternal uncle, the 
young men, as by one assent, began to attempt the 
unloosening of his purse-strings. Signally failing in 
this and in other notable schemes, they determined to 
lay in that stock of facts and useful knowledge which 
might reconcile them with their father, and restore 
them to that happy life at Gaur which they then 

1 A penal offence in India. How is it that we English have omitted 
to codify it ? The laws of Manu also punish severely all disdainful 
expressions, such as ' tush ' or ' pish,' addressed during argument to a 

1 Stanzas, generally speaking on serious subjects. 


despised, and which now brought tears into their 

Then they debated with one another what they 

should study. 


That branch of the preternatural, popularly called 
' white magic,' found with them favour. 


They chose a Guru or teacher strictly according to 
the orders of their faith, a wise man of honourable 
family and affable demeanour, who was not a glutton 
nor leprous, nor blind of one eye, nor blind of both 
eyes, nor very short, nor suffering from whitlows, 1 
asthma, or other disease, nor noisy and talkative, nor 
with any defect about the fingers and toes, nor subject 
to his wife. 

Jf -X- -X- # * * 

A grand discovery had been lately made by a 
certain phy siologico - philosophico - psy chologico -ma- 
terialist, a Jayasthalian. In investigating the vestiges 
of creation, the cause of causes, the effect of effects, 
and the original origin of that Matra (matter) which 
some regard as an entity, others as a non-entity, others 
self-existent, others merely specious and therefore 
unexistent,he became convinced that the fundamental 
form of organic being is a globule having another 
globule within itself. After inhabiting a garret and 

1 Whitlows on the nails show that the sufferer, in the last life, stole 
gold from a Brahman. 

Q 2 


diving into the depths of his self-consciousness for a 
few score of years, he was able to produce such com- 
plex globule in triturated and roasted flint by means 
of I will not say what. Happily for creation in 
general, the discovery died a natural death some 
centuries ago. An edifying spectacle, indeed, for the 
world to see ; a cross old man sitting amongst his 
gallipots and crucibles, creating animalculse, providing 
the corpses of birds, beasts, and fishes with what is 
vulgarly called life, and supplying to epigenesis all 
the latest improvements ! 

In those days the invention, being a novelty, en- 
grossed the thoughts of the universal learned, who 
were in a fever of excitement about it. Some believed 
in it so implicitly that they saw in every experiment 
a hundred things which they did not see. Others 
were so sceptical and contradictory that they would 
not perceive what they did see. Those blended with 
each fact their own deductions, whilst these span 
round every reality the web of their own prejudices. 
Curious to say, the Jayasthalians, amongst whom the 
luminous science arose, hailed it with delight, whilst 
the Gaurians derided its claim to be considered an 
important addition to human knowledge. 

Let me try to remember a few of their words. 

' Unfortunate human nature,' wrote the wise of 
Gaur against the wise of Jayasthal, f wanted no 
crowning indignity but this ! You had already proved 
that the body is made of the basest element earth, 

An edifying spectacle, indeed, for the world to see : a cross old man 
sitting amongst his gallipots and crucibles. 


You had argued away the immovability, the ubiquity, 
the permanency, the eternity, and the divinity of the 
soul, for is not your favourite axiom, " It is the 
nature of limbs which thinketh in man ?" The im- 
mortal mind is, according to you, an ignoble viscus ; 
the god -like gift of reason is the instinct of a dog 
somewhat highly developed. Still you left us some- 
thing to hope. Still you allowed us one boast. Still 
life was a thread connecting us with the Giver of 
Life. But now, with an impious hand, in blasphe- 
mous rage ye have rent asunder that last frail tie.' 
And so forth. 

' Welcome ! thrice welcome ! this latest and most 
admirable development of human wisdom,' wrote 
the sage Jayasthalians against the sage Gaurians, 
' which has assigned to man his proper state and 
status and station in the magnificent scale of being. 
We have not created the facts which we have investi- 
gated, and which we now proudly publish. We have 
proved materialism to be nature's own system. But 
our philosophy of matter cannot overturn any truth, 
because, if erroneous, it will necessarily sink into 
oblivion ; if real, it will tend only to instruct and to 
enlighten the world. Wise are ye in your generation, 
O ye sages of Gaur, yet withal wondrous illogical.' 
And much of this kind. 

Concerning all which, mighty king ! I, as a Vam- 
pire, have only to remark that those two learned 
bodies, like your Rajaship's Nine Gems of Science, 



were in the habit of talking most about what they 
least understood. 

The four young men applied the whole force of 
their talents to mastering the difficulties of the 
life-giving process ; and, in due time, their industry 
obtained its reward. 

The bone thereupon stood upright, and hopped about. 

Then they determined to return home. As with 
beating hearts they approached the old city, their 
birthplace, and gazed with moistened eyes upon its 
tall spires and grim pagodas, its verdant meads and 
venerable groves, they saw a Kanjar, 1 who, having 
tied up in a bundle the skin and bones of a tiger 

1 A low caste Hindu, who catches and exhibits snakes and performs 
other such mean offices. 


which, he had found dead, was about to go on his way. 
Then said the thief to the gambler, ' Take we these 
remains with us, and by means of them prove the 
truth of our science before the people of Gaur, to 
the offence of their noses.' 1 Being now possessed of 
knowledge, they resolved to apply it to its proper 
purpose, namely, power over the property of others. 
Accordingly, the wencher, the gambler, and the 
atheist kept the Kanjar in conversation whilst the 
thief vivified a shank bone ; and the bone thereupon 
stood upright, and hopped about in so grotesque and 
wonderful a way that the man, being frightened, fled 
as if I had been close behind him. 

Vishnu Swami had lately written a very learned 
commentary on the mystical words of Lokakshi : 

* The Scriptures are at variance the tradition is 
at variance. He who gives a meaning of his own, 
quoting the Vedas, is no philosopher. 

'True philosophy, through ignorance, is concealed 
as in the fissures of a rock. 

'But the way of the Great One that is to be 

And the success of his book had quite effaced from 
the Brahman mind the holy man ? s failure in bringing 
up his children. He followed up this by adding to 
his essay on education a twentieth tome, containing 
recipes for the * Eeformation of Prodigals.' 

The learned and reverend father received his sons 

1 Meaning in spite of themselves. 


with open arms. He had heard from his brother-in- 
law that the youths were qualified to support them- 
selves, and when informed that they wished to make 
a public experiment of their science, he exerted 
himself, despite his disbelief in it, to forward their 

The Pandits and Gurus were long before they 
would consent to attend what they considered deal- 
ings with Yama (the Devil). In consequence, how- 
ever, of Yishnu Swami's name and importunity, at 
length, on a certain day, all the pious, learned, and 
reverend tutors, teachers, professors, prolocutors, 
pastors, spiritual fathers, poets, philosophers, mathe- 
maticians, schoolmasters, pedagogues, bear-leaders, 
institutors, gerund-grinders, preceptors, dominies, 
brush ers, coryphaei, dry-nurses, coaches, mentors, 
monitors, lecturers, prelectors, fellows, and heads of 
houses at the university of Gaur, met together in a 
large garden, where they usually diverted themselves 
out of hours with ball-tossing, pigeon-tumbling, and 

Presently the four young men, carrying their 
bundle of bones and the other requisites, stepped 
forward, walking slowly with eyes downcast, like 
shrinking cattle : for it is said, the Brahman must 
not run, even when it rains. 

After pronouncing an impromptu speech, composed 
for them by their father, and so stuffed with erudition 
that even the writer hardly understood it, they an- 


nounced their wish to prove, by ocular demonstra- 
tion, the truth of a science upon which their short- 
sighted rivals of Jayasthal had cast cold water, but 
which, they remarked in the eloquent peroration of 
their discourse, the sages of Gaur had welcomed 
with that wise and catholic spirit of enquiry which 
had ever characterised their distinguished body. 

Huge words, involved sentences, and the high- 
flown compliment, exceedingly undeserved, obscured, 
I suppose, the bright wits of the intellectual convo- 
cation, which really began to think that their libe- 
rality of opinion deserved all praise. 

None objected to what was being prepared, except 
one of the heads of houses ; his appeal was generally 
scouted, because his Sanskrit style was vulgarly in- 
telligible, and he had the bad name of being a 
practical man. The metaphysician Rashik Lall 
sneered to Yaiswata the poet, who passed on the look 
to the theo-philosopher Yardhaman. Haridatt the 
antiquarian whispered the metaphysician Vasudeva, 
who burst into a loud laugh ; whilst Narayan, Jaga- 
sharma, and Devaswami, all very learned in the 
Vedas, opened their eyes and stared at him with 
well-simulated astonishment. So he, being offended, 
said nothing more, but arose and walked home. 

A great crowd gathered round the four young 
men and their father, as opening the bundle that 
contained the tiger's remains, they prepared for their 



One of the operators spread the bones upon the 
ground and fixed each one into its proper socket, not 
forgetting even the teeth and tusks. 

The second connected, by means of a marvellous 
unguent, the skeleton with the muscles and heart of 
an elephant, which he had procured for the purpose. 

The third drew from his pouch the brain and eyes 

They prepared for their task. 

of a large tom-cat, which he carefully fitted into the 
animal's skull, and then covered the body with the 
hide of a young rhinoceros. 

Then the fourth the atheist who had been di- 
recting the operation, produced a globule having 
another globule within itself. And as the crowd 
pressed on them, craning their necks, breathless with 
anxiety, he placed the Principle of Organic Life in 
the tiger's body with such effect that the monster 
immediately heaved its chest, breathed, agitated its 

With a roar like thunder. 


limbs, opened its eyes, jumped to its feet, shook 
itself, glared around, and begun to gnash its teeth 
and lick its chops, lashing the while its ribs with its 

The sages sprang back, and the beast sprang for- 
ward. With a roar like thunder during Elephanta- 
time, 1 it flew at the nearest of the spectators, flung 
Vishnu Swami to the ground and clawed his four 
sons. Then, not even stopping to drink their blood, 
it hurried after the flying herd of wise men. Jos- 
tling and tumbling, stumbling and catching at one 
another's long robes, they rushed in hottest haste 
towards the garden gate. But the beast having the 
muscles of an elephant as well as the bones of a 
tiger, made a few bounds of eighty or ninety feet 
each, easily distanced them, and took away all chance 
of escape. To be brief : as the monster was fright- 
fully hungry after its long fast, and as the imprudent 
young men had furnished it with admirable imple- 
ments of destruction, it did not cease its work till 
one hundred and twenty-one learned and highly 
distinguished Pandits and Gurus lay upon the ground 
chawed, clawed, sucked-dry, and in most cases stone- 
dead. Amongst them, I need hardly say, were the 
sage Vishnu Swami and his four sons. 

Having told this story the Vampire hung silent for 
a time. Presently he resumed 

1 When the moon is in a certain lunar mansion, at the conclusion of 
the wet season. 


' Now, heed my words, Raja Vikram ! I am about 
to ask thee, Which of all those learned men was the 
most finished fool ? The answer is easily found, yet 
it must be distasteful to thee. Therefore mortify 
thy vanity, as soon as possible, or I shall be talking, 
and thou wilt be walking through this livelong night, 
to scanty purpose. Remember ! science without un- 
derstanding is of little use; indeed, understanding 
is superior to science^ and those devoid of under- 
standing perish as did the persons who revivified 
the tiger. Before this, I warned thee to beware of 
thyself, and of thine own conceit. Here, then, is 
an opportunity for self-discipline which of all those 
learned men was the greatest fool ? ' 

The warrior king mistook the kind of mortifica- 
tion imposed upon him, and pondered over the un- 
comfortable nature of the reply in the presence of 
his son. 

Again the Baital taunted him. 

' The greatest fool of all,' at last said Yikram, in 
slow and by no means willing accents, i was the 
father. Is it not said, " There is no fool like an old 

' Gramercy ! ' cried the Vampire, bursting out into 
a discordant laugh, ' I now return to my tree. By 
this head ! I never before heard a father so readily 
condemn a father.' With these words he disap- 
peared, slipping out of the bundle. 

The Raja scolded his son a little for want of 


obedience, and said that he had always thought more 
highly of his acuteness never could have believed 
that he would have been taken in by so shallow a 
trick. Dharma Dhwaj answered not a word to this, 
but promised to be wiser another time. 

Then they returned to the tree, and did what they 
had so often done before. 

And, as before, the Baital held his tongue for a 
time. Presently he began as follows. 




THE lady Chandraprabha, daughter of the Eaja 
Subichar, was a particularly beautiful girl, and mar- 
riageable withal. One day as Yasanta, the Spring, 
began to assert its reign over the world, animate 
and inanimate, she went accompanied by her young 
friends and companions to stroll about her father's 

The fair troop wandered through sombre groves, 
where the dark tamala-tree entwined its branches 
with the pale green foliage of the nim, and the 
pippal's domes of quivering leaves contrasted with 
the columnar aisles of the banyan fig. They ad- 
mired the old monarchs of the forest, bearded to the 
waist with hangings of moss, the flowing creepers 
delicately climbing from the lower branches to the 
topmost shoots, and the cordage of llianas stretching 
from trunk to trunk like bridges for the monkeys to 
pass over. Then they issued into a clear space 
dotted with asokas bearing rich crimson flowers, 
cliterias of azure blue, madhavis exhibiting petals 
virgin white as the snows on Himalaya, and jasmines 


raining showers of perfumed blossoms upon the 
grateful earth. They could not sufficiently praise 
the tall and graceful stem of the arrowy areca, con- 
trasting with the solid pyramid of the cypress, and 
the more masculine stature of the palm. Now they 
lingered in the trellised walks closely covered over 
with vines and creepers ; then they stopped to gather 
the golden bloom weighing down the mango boughs, 
and to smell the highly-scented flowers that hung 
from the green fretwork of the chambela. 

It was spring, I have said. The air was still 
except when broken by the hum of the large black 
brarnra bee, as he plied his task amidst the red and 
orange flowers of the dak, and by the gushings of 
many waters that made music as they coursed down 
their stuccoed channels between borders of many 
coloured poppies and beds of various flowers. From 
time to time the dulcet note of the kokila bird, and 
the hoarse plaint of the turtle-dove deep hid in her 
leafy bower, attracted every ear and thrilled every 
heart. The south wind ' breeze of the south, 1 the 
friend of love and spring ' blew with a voluptuous 
warmth, for rain clouds canopied the earth, and the 
breath of the narcissus, the rose, and the citron, 
teemed with a languid fragrance. 

The charms of the season affected all the damsels. 
They amused themselves in their privacy with pelting 
blossoms at one another, running races down the 

1 In Hindoetan, it is the prevailing wind of the hot weather. 


smooth broad alleys, mounting the silken swings 
that hung between the orange trees, embracing one 
another, and at times trying to push the butt of the 
party into the fish-pond. Perhaps the liveliest of all 
was the lady Chandraprabha, who on account of her 
rank could pelt and push all the others, without fear 
of being pelted and pushed in return. 

It so happened, before the attendants had had time 
to secure privacy for the princess and her women, 
that Manaswi, a very handsome youth, a Brahman's 
son, had wandered without malicious intention into 
the garden. Fatigued with walking, and finding a 
cool shady place beneath a tree, he had lain down 
there, and had gone to sleep, and had not been 
observed by any of the king's people. He was still 
sleeping when the princess and her companions were 
playing together. 

Presently Chandraprabha, weary of sport, left her 
friends, and singing a lively air, tripped up the 
stairs leading to the summer-house. Aroused by 
the sound of her advancing footsteps, Manaswi sat 
up ; and the princess, seeing a strange man, started. 
But their eyes had met, and both were subdued by 
love love vulgarly called ' love at first sight.' 

' Nonsense ! ' exclaimed the warrior king, testily, 
C I can never believe in that freak of Kama Deva.' 
He spoke feelingly, for the thing had happened to 
himself more than once, and on no occasion had it 
turned out well. 



' But there is such a thing, Kaja, as love at first 
sight,' objected the Baital, speaking dogmatically. 

* Then perhaps thou canst account for it, dead 
one,' growled the monarch, surlily. 

' I have no reason to do so, Yikram,' retorted 
the Vampire, c when you men have already done it. 
Listen, then, to the words of the wise. In the olden 

But their eyes had met. 

time, one of your great philosophers invented a fluid 
pervading all matter, strongly self-repulsive like the 
steam of a brass pot, and widely spreadirg like the 
breath of scandal. The repulsiveness, however, ac- 
cording to that wise man, is greatly modified by its 
second property, namely, an energetic attraction or 
adhesion to all material bodies. Thus every sub- 


stance contains a part, more or less, of this fluid, 
pervading it throughout, and strongly bound to each 
component atom. He called it " Ambericity," for 
the best of reasons, as it has no connection with 
amber, and he described it as an imponderable, 
which, meaning that it could not be weighed, gives 
a very accurate and satisfactory idea of its nature. 

6 Now, said that philosopher, whenever two bodies 
containing that nnweighable substance in unequal 
proportions happen to meet, a current of imponder- 
able passes from one to the other, producing a kind 
of attraction, and tending to adhere. The operation 
takes place instantaneously when the force is strong 
and much condensed. Thus the vulgar, who call 
things after their effects and not from their causes, 
term the action of this imponderable love at first 
sight; the wise define it to be a phenomenon of 
ambericity. As regards my own opinion about the 
matter, I have long ago told it to you, Yikram ! 
Silliness ' 

'Either hold your tongue, fellow, or go on with 
your story,' cried the Raja, wearied out by so many 
words that had no manner of sense. 

Well! the effect of the first glance was that 
Manaswi, the Brahman's son, fell back in a swoon 
and remained senseless upon the ground where he 
had been sitting ; and the Raja's daughter began to 
tremble upon her feet, and presently dropped uncon- 
scious upon the floor of the summer-house. Shortly 


after this she was found by her companions and 
attendants, who, quickly taking her up in their 
arms and supporting her into a litter, conveyed 
her home. 

Manaswi, the Brahman's son, was so completely 
overcome, that he lay there dead to everything. 
Just then the learned, deeply read, and purblind 
Pandits Muldev and Shashi by name, strayed into 
the garden, and stumbled upon the body. 

' Friend,' said Muldev, ' how came this youth thus 
to fall senseless on the ground ? ' 

'Man,' replied Shashi, 'doubtless some damsel 
has shot forth the arrows of her glances from the 
bow of her eyebrows, and thence he has become 
insensible ! ' 

'We must lift him up then,' said Muldev the 

' What need is there to raise him ? ' asked Shashi 
the misanthrope by way of reply. 

Muldev, however, would not listen to these words. 
He ran to the pond hard by, soaked the end of his 
waistcloth in water, sprinkled it over the young 
Brahman, raised him from the ground, and placed 
him sitting against the wall. And perceiving, when 
he came to himself, that his sickness was rather of 
the soul than the body, the old men asked him how 
he came to be in that plight. 

' We should tell our griefs,' answered Manaswi, 
only to those who will relieve us ! What is the use 

R 2 


of communicating them to those who, when they 
have heard, cannot help us ? What is to be gained 
by the empty pity or by the useless condolence of 
men in general?' 

The Pandits, however, by friendly looks and words, 
presently persuaded him to break silence, when he 
said, f A certain princess entered this summer-h,ouse, 
and from the sight of her I have fallen into this 
state. If I can obtain her, I shall live; if not, I 
must die.' 

6 Come with me, young man ! ' said Muldev the 
benevolent ; ' I will use every endeavour to obtain 
her, and if I do not succeed I will make thee wealthy 
and independent of the world.' 

Manas wi rejoined : ' The Deity in his beneficence 
has created many jewels in this world, but the pearl, 
woman, is chiefest of all ; and for her sake only does 
man desire wealth. What are riches to one who 
has abandoned his wife? What are they who do 
not possess beautiful wives? they are but beings 
inferior to the beasts ! wealth is the fruit of virtue ; 
ease, of wealth ; a wife, of ease. And where no 
wife is, how can there be happiness?' And the 
enamoured youth rambled on in this way, curious to 
us, Eaja Yikram, but perhaps natural enough in a 
Brahman's son suffering under that endemic malady 
determination to marry. 

' Whatever thou mayest desire,' said Muldev, 
shall by the blessing of heaven be given to thee.' 


Manaswi implored him, saying most pathetically, 
' Pandit, bestow then that damsel upon me ! ' 

Muldev promised to do so, and having comforted 
the youth, led him to his own house. Then he wel- 
comed him politely, seated him upon the carpet, and 
left him for a few minutes, promising him to return. 
When he reappeared, he held in his hand two little 
balls or pills, and showing them to Manaswi, he 
explained their virtues as follows : 

6 There is in our house an hereditary secret, by 
means of which 1 try to promote the weal of 
humanity. But in all cases my success depends 
mainly upon the purity and the heartwholeness of 
those that seek my aid. If thou place this in thy 
mouth, thou shalt be changed into a damsel twelve 
years old, and when thou withdrawest it again, thou 
shalt again recover thine original form. Beware, 
however, that thou use the power for none but a 
good purpose; otherwise some great calamity will 
befall thee. Therefore, take counsel of thyself before 
undertaking this trial ! ' 

What lover, warrior king Vikrain, would have 
hesitated, under such circumstances, to assure the 
Pandit that he was the most innocent, earnest, and 
well-intentioned being in the Three Worlds ? 

The Brahman's son, at least, lost no time in so 
doing. Hence the simple-minded philosopher put 
one of the pills into the young man's mouth, warning 
him on no account to swallow it, and took the other 


into his own mouth. Upon which Manas wi became 
a sprightly young maid, and Muldev was changed to 
a reverend and decrepid senior, not less than eighty 
years old. 

Thus transformed the twain walked up to the 
palace of the Raja Subichar, and stood for a while 
to admire the gate. Then passing through seven 
courts, beautiful as the Paradise of Indra, they entered, 
unannounced, as became the priestly dignity, a hall 
where, surrounded by his courtiers, sat the ruler. The 
latter seeing the holy Brahman under his roof, rose 
up, made the customary humble salutation, and 
taking their right hands, led what appeared to be the 
father and daughter to appropriate seats. Upon which 
Muldev, having recited a verse, bestowed upon the 
Raja a blessing whose beauty has been diffused over 
all creation. 

6 May that Deity 1 who as a mannikin deceived the 
great king Bali ; who as a hero, with a monkey-host, 
bridged the Salt Sea ; who as a shepherd lifted up 
the mountain Gobarddhan in the palm of his hand, 
and by it saved the cowherds and cowherdesses from 
the thunders of heaven may that Deity be thy 
protector !' 

1 Vishnu, as a dwarf, sank down into and secured in the lower regions 
the Eaja Bali, who by his piety and prayerfulness was subverting the 
reign of the lesser gods ; as Eamachandra he built a bridge between 
Lanka (Ceylon) and the main land ; and as Krishna he defended, by 
holding up a hill as an umbrella for them, his friends the shepherds 
and shepherdesses from the thunders of Indra, whose worship they had 


Having heard and marvelled at this display of 
eloquence, the Kaja inquired, ' Whence hath your 
holiness come ?' 

' My country,' replied Muldev, ' is on the northern 
side of the great mother Ganges, and there too my 
dwelling is. I travelled to a distant land, and having 
found in this maiden a worthy wife for my son, 
I straightway returned homewards. Meanwhile a 
famine had laid waste our village, and my wife and 
my son have fled, I know not where. Encumbered 
with this damsel, how can I wander about seeking 
them ? Hearing the name of a pious and generous 
ruler, I said to myself, " I will leave her under his 
charge until my return." Be pleased to take great 
care of her.' 

For a minute the Raja sat thoughtful and silent. 
He was highly pleased with the Brahman's perfect 
compliment. But he could not hide from himself 
that he was placed between two difficulties : one, the 
charge of a beautiful young girl, with pouting lips, 
soft speech, and roguish eyes ; the other, a priestly 
curse upon himself and his kingdom. He thought, 
however, refusal the more dangerous : so he raised 
his face and exclaimed, ' produce of Brahma's 
head, 1 I will do what your highness has desired of 

Upon which the Brahman, after delivering a bene- 

1 The priestly caste sprang, as has been said, from the noblest part of 
the Demiurgus ; the three others from lower members. 


diction of adieu almost as beautiful and spirit-stirring 
as that with which he had presented himself, took 
the betel 1 and went his ways. 

Then the Raja sent for his daughter Chandraprabha 
and said to her, 'This is the affianced bride of a 
young Brahman, and she has been trusted to my 
protection for a time by her father-in-law. Take 
her therefore into the inner rooms, treat her with 
the utmost regard, and never allow her to be sepa- 
rated from thee, day or night, asleep or awake, eating 
or drinking, at home or abroad.' 

Chandraprabha took the hand of Sita as Manaswi 
had pleased to call himself and led the way to her 
own apartment. Once the seat of joy and pleasure, 
the rooms now wore a desolate and melancholy look. 
The windows were darkened, the attendants moved 
noiselessly over the carpets, as if their footsteps would 
cause headache, and there was a faint scent of some 
drug much used in cases of deliquium. The apart- 
ments were handsome, but the only ornament in the 
room where they sat was a large bunch of withered 
flowers in an arched recess, and these, though possi- 
bly interesting to some one, were not likely to find 
favour as a decoration in the eyes of everybody. 

The Raja's daughter paid the greatest attention 
and talked with unusual vivacity to the Brahman's 
daughter-in-law, either because she had roguish eyes, 

1 A chew of betel leaf and spices is offered by the master of the house 
when dismissing a visitor. 


or from some presentiment of what was to occur, 
whichever you please, Kaja Vikram, and it is no 
matter which. Still, Sita could not help perceiving 
that there was a shade of sorrow upon the forehead 
of her fair new friend, and so when they retired to 
rest she asked the cause of it. 

Then Chandraprabha related to her the sad tale : 
c One day in the spring season, as I was strolling in 
the garden along with my companions, I beheld a very 
handsome Brahman, and our eyes having met, he 
became unconscious, and I also was insensible. My 
companions seeing my condition, brought me home, 
and therefore I know neither his name nor his abode. 
His beautiful form is impressed upon my memory. I 
have now no desire to eat or to drink, and from this 
distress my colour has become pale and my body is 
thus emaciated.' And the beautiful princess sighed 
a sigh that was musical and melancholy, and con- 
cluded by predicting for herself as persons simi- 
larly placed often do a sudden and untimely end 
about the beginning of the next month. 

( What wilt thou give me,' asked the Brahman's 
daughter-in-law demurely, 6 if I show thee thy be- 
loved at this very moment ?' 

The Baja's daughter answered, ( I will ever be the 
lowest of thy slaves, standing before thee with joined 

Upon which Sita removed the pill from her mouth, 
and instantly having become Manaswi, put it care- 


fully away in a little bag hung round his neck. At 
this sight Chandraprabha felt abashed, and hung 
down her head in beautiful confusion. To describe 

6 1 will have no descriptions, Yampire !' cried the 
great Vikram, jerking the bag up and down as if 
he were sweating gold in it. c The fewer of thy 
descriptions the better for us all.' 

Briefly (resumed the demon), Manaswi reflected 
upon the eight forms of marriage viz. Bramhalagan, 
when a girl is given to a Brahman, or man of 
superior caste, without reward ; Daiva, when she is 
presented as a gift or fee to the officiating priest at 
the close of a sacrifice ; Arsha, when two cows are 
received by the girl's father in exchange for the 
bride ;* Prajapatya, when the girl is given at the 
request of a Brahman, and the father says to his 
daughter and her betrothed, ' Go, fulfil the duties of 
religion;' Asura, when money is received by the 
father in exchange for the bride ; Eakshasa, when 
she is captured in war, or when her bridegroom 
overcomes his rival ; Paisacha, when the girl is taken 
away from her father's house by craft ; and eighthly, 
Gandharva-lagan, or the marriage that takes place 
by mutual consent. 2 

1 Respectable Hindus say that receiving a fee for a daughter is like 
selling flesh. 

a A modern custom amongst the low caste is for the bride and bride- 
groom, in the presence of friends, to place a flower garland on each 
other's necks, and thus declare themselves man and wife. The old 
classical Gandharva-lagan has been before explained. 


Manaswi preferred the latter, especially as by her 
rank and age the princess was entitled to call upon 
her father for the Lakshmi Swayambara wedding, in 
which she would have chosen her own husband. 
And thus it is that Kama, Arjuna, Krishna, Nala, 
and others, were proposed to by the princesses whom 
they married. 

For five months after these nuptials, Manaswi 
never stirred out of the palace, but remained there 
by day a woman, and a man by night. The conse- 
quence was that he I call him f he,' for whether 
Manaswi or Sita, his mind ever remained masculine 
presently found himself in a fair way to become a 

Now, one would imagine that a change of sex 
every twenty-four hours would be variety enough 
to satisfy even a man. Manaswi, however, was not 
contented. He began to pine for more liberty, and 
to find fault with his wife for not taking him out 
into the world. And you might have supposed that 
a young person who, from love at first sight, had 
fallen senseless upon the steps of a summer-house, 
and who had devoted herself to a sudden and un- 
timely end because she was separated from her lover, 
would have repressed her yawns and little irritable 
words even for a year after having converted him 
into a husband. But, no ! Chandraprabha soon felt 
as tired of seeing Manaswi and nothing but Manaswi, 
as Manaswi was weary of seeing Chandraprabha and 


nothing but Chandraprabha. Often she had been on 
the point of proposing visits and out-of-door excur- 
sions. But when at last the idea was first suggested 
by her husband, she at once became an injured wo- 
man. She hinted how foolish it was for married 
people to imprison themselves and quarrel all day. 
When Manaswi remonstrated, saying that he wanted 
nothing better than to appear before the world with 
her as his wife, but that he really did not know what 
her father might do to him, she threw out a cutting 
sarcasm upon his effeminate appearance during the 
hours of light. She then told him of an unfortunate 
young woman in an old nursery tale who had uncon- 
sciously married a fiend that became a fine handsome 
man at night when no eye could see him, and utter 
ugliness by day when good looks show to advantage. 
And lastly, when inveighing against the changeable- 
ness, fickleness, and infidelity of mankind, she quoted 
the words of the poet 

Out upon change ! it tires the heart 
And weighs the noble spirit down ; 

A vain, vain world indeed thou art 
That can such vile condition own ; 

The veil hath fallen from my eyes, 

I cannot love where I despise. . . . 

You can easily, O King Yikram, continue for your- 
self and conclude this lecture, which I leave unfinished 
on account of its length. 

Chandraprabha and Sita, who called each other 


the Zodiacal Twins and Laughter Light, 1 and All- 
consenters, easily persuaded the old Raja that their 
health would be further improved by air, exercise, 
and distractions. Subichar, being delighted with 
the change that had taken place in a daughter 
whom he loved, and whom he had feared to lose, 
told them to do as they pleased. They began a new 
life, in which short trips and visits, baths and dances, 
music parties, drives in bullock chariots, and water 
excursions, succeeded one another. 

It so happened that one day the Eaja went with 
his whole family to a wedding feast in the house of 
his grand treasurer, where the latter's son saw 
Manaswi in the beautiful shape of Sita. This was 
a third case of love at first sight, for the young man 
immediately said to a particular friend, ' If I obtain 
that girl, I shall live ; if not, I shall abandon life.' 

In the meantime the king, having enjoyed the 
feast, came back to his palace with his whole 
family. The condition of the treasurer's son, how- 
ever, became very distressing ; and through separa- 
tion from his beloved, he gave up eating and drink- 
ing. The particular friend had kept the secret for 
some days, though burning to tell it. At length he 
found an excuse for himself in the sad state of his 
friend, and he immediately went and divulged all that 
he knew to the treasurer. After this he felt relieved. 

1 Meaning that the sight of each other -frill cause a smile, and that 
what one purposes the other will consent to. 


The minister repaired to the court, and laid his 
case before the king, saying, ' Great Eaja ! through 
the love of that Brahman's daughter-in- law, my son's 
state is very bad ;, he has given up eating and drink- 
ing; in fact he is consumed by the fire of separation. 
If now your majesty could show compassion, and be- 
stow the girl upon him, his life would be saved. If 
not ' 

6 Fool ! ' cried the Eaja, who, hearing these words, 
had waxed very wroth ; c it is not right for kings to 
do injustice. Listen ! when a person puts any one 
in charge of a protector, how can the latter give 
away his trust without consulting the person that 
trusted him ? And yet this is what you wish me to 

The treasurer knew that the Eaja could not govern 
his realm without him, and he was well acquainted 
with his master's character. He said to himself, 
4 This will not last long ; ' but he remained dumb, 
simulating hopelessness, and hanging down his head, 
whilst Subichar alternately scolded and coaxed, abused 
and flattered him, in order to open his lips. Then, 
with tears in his eyes, he muttered a request to take 
leave; and as he passed through the palace gates, 
he said aloud, with a resolute air, c It will cost me 
but ten days of fasting ! ' 

The treasurer, having returned home, collected all 
his attendants, and went straightway to his son's room. 
Seeing the youth still stretched upon his sleeping- 


mat, and very yellow for the want of food, he took 
his hand, and said in a whisper, meant to be audible, 
4 Alas ! poor son, I can do nothing but perish with 

The servants, hearing this threat, slipped one by 
one out of the room, and each went to tell his friend 
that the Grand Treasurer had resolved to live no 
longer. After which, they went back to the house 
to see if their master intended to keep his word, and 
curious to know, if he did intend to die, how, where, 
and when it was to be. And they were not disap- 
pointed : I do not mean that they wished their lord 
to die, as he was a good master to them, but still 
there was an excitement in the thing 

(Raja Yikram could not refrain from showing his 
anger at the insult thus cast by the Baital upon 
human nature ; the wretch, however, pretending not 
to notice it, went on without interrupting himself.) 

which somehow or other pleased them. 

When the treasurer had spent three days without 
touching bread or water, all the cabinet council met 
and determined to retire from business unless the 
Raja yielded to their solicitations. The treasurer 
was their working man. ' Besides which,' said the 
cabinet council, 'if a certain person gets into the 
habit of refusing us, what is to be the end of it, and 
what is the use of being cabinet councillors any 
longer? 5 

Early on the next morning, the ministers went in 


a body before the Raja, and humbly represented that 
c the treasurer's son is at the point of death, the 
effect of a full heart and an empty stomach. Should 
he die, the father, who has not eaten or drunk dur- 
ing the last three days ' (the Raja trembled to hear 
the intelligence, though he knew it), ' his father, we 
say, cannot be saved. If the father dies the affairs 
of the kingdom come to ruin, is he not the grand 
treasurer ? It is already said that half the accounts 
have been gnawed by white ants, and that some per- 
nicious substance in the ink has eaten jagged holes 
through the paper, so that the other half of the 
accounts is illegible. It were best, sire, that you 
agree to what we represent.' 

The white ants and corrosive ink were too strong 
for the Raja's determination. Still, wishing to save 
appearances, he replied, with much firmness, that he 
knew the value of the treasurer and his son, that 
he would do much to save them, but that he had 
passed his royal word, and had undertaken a trust. 
That he would rather die a dozen deaths than break 
his promise, or not discharge his duty faithfully. 
That man's condition in this world is to depart from 
it, none remaining in it ; that one comes and that 
one goes, none knowing when or where; but that 
eternity is eternity for happiness or misery. And 
much of the same nature, not very novel, and not 
perhaps quite to the purpose, but edifying to those 
who knew what lay behind the speaker's words. 


The ministers did not know their lord's character 
so well as the grand treasurer, and they were more 
impressed by his firm demeanour and the number of 
his words than he wished them to be. After allow- 
ing his speech to settle in their minds, he did away 
with a great part of its effect by declaring that such 
were the sentiments and the principles when a man 
talks of his principles, Vikram ! ask thyself the 
reason why instilled into his youthful mind by the 
most honourable of fathers and the most virtuous 
of mothers. At the same time that he was by no 
means obstinate or proof against conviction. In 
token whereof he graciously permitted the council- 
lors to convince him that it was his royal duty to 
break his word and betray his trust, and to give 
away another man's wife. 

Pray do not lose your temper, O warrior king ! 
Subichar, although a Raja, was a weak man ; and 
you know, or you ought to know, that the wicked 
may be wise in their generation, but the weak never 

Well, the ministers hearing their lord's last words, 
took courage, and proceeded to work upon his mind 
by the figure of speech popularly called e rigmarole.' 
They said : ' Great king ! that old Brahman has been 
gone many days, and has not returned ; he is pro- 
bably dead and burnt. It is therefore right that by 
giving to the grand treasurer's son his daughter-in- 
law, who is only affianced, not fairly married, you 



should establish your government firmly. And even 
if he should return, bestow villages and wealth upon 
him ; and if he be not then content, provide another 
and a more beautiful wife for his son, and dismiss 
him. A person should be sacrificed for the sake of 
a family, a family for a city, a city for a country, and 
a country for a king ! ' 

Subichar, having heard them, dismissed them with 
the remark that as so much was to be said on both 
sides, he must employ the night in thinking over 
the matter, and that he would on the next day 
favour them with his decision. The cabinet coun- 
cillors knew by this that he meant that he would 
go and consult his wives. They retired contented, 
convinced that every voice would be in favour of a 
wedding, and that the young girl, with so good an 
offer, would not sacrifice the present to the future. 

That evening the treasurer and his son supped to- 

The first words uttered by Raja Subichar, when 
he entered his daughter's apartment, was an order 
addressed to Sita : ' Go thou at once to the house of 
my treasurer's son.' 

Now, as Chandraprabha and Manaswi were gene- 
rally scolding each other, Chandraprabha and Sita 
were hardly on speaking terms. When they heard 
the Raja's order for their separation they were 

' Delighted ? ' cried Dharma Dhwaj, who for 
some reason took the greatest interest in the narra- 


' Overwhelmed with grief, thou most guileless Yuva 
Raja (young prince) ! ' ejaculated the Vampire. 

Raja Vikram reproved his son for talking about 
things of which he knew nothing, and the Baital re- 

They turned pale and wept, and they wrung their 
hands, and they begged and argued and refused obe- 
dience. In fact they did everything to make the 
king revoke his order. 

6 The virtue of a woman,' quoth Sita, ' is de- 
stroyed through too much beauty ; the religion of a 
Brahman is impaired by serving kings ; a cow is 
spoiled by distant pasturage, wealth is lost by com- 
mitting injustice, and prosperity departs from the 
house where promises are not kept.' 

The Raja highly applauded the sentiment, but was 
firm as a rock upon the subject of Sita marrying the 
treasurer's son. 

Chandraprabha observed that her royal father, 
usually so conscientious, must now be acting from 
interested motives, and that when selfishness sways 
a man, right becomes left and left becomes right, as 
in the reflection of a mirror. 

Subichar approved of the comparison ; he was not 
quite so resolved, but he showed no symptoms 01 
changing his mind. 

Then the Brahman's daughter-in-law, with the 
view of gaining time a famous stratagem amongst 
feminines said to the Raja : e Great king, if you are 
s 2 


determined upon giving me to the grand treasurer's 
son, exact from him the promise that he will do what 
I bid him. Only on this condition will I ever enter 
his house ! ' 

' Speak, then,' asked the king ; ' what will he have 
to do?' 

She replied, 'I am of the Brahman or priestly 
caste, he is the son of a Kshatriya or warrior : the 
law directs that before we twain can wed, he should 
perform Tatra (pilgrimage) to all the holy places.' 

c Thou has spoken Yedi-truth, girl,' answered the 
Eaja, not sorry to have found so good a pretext for 
temporising, and at the same time to preserve his 
character for firmness, resolution, determination. 

That night Manaswi and Chandraprabha, instead 
of scolding each other, congratulated themselves upon 
having escaped an imminent danger which they did 
not escape. 

In the morning, Subichar sent for his ministers, 
including his grand treasurer and his love-sick son, 
and told them how well and wisely the Brahman's 
daughter-in-law had spoken upon the subject of the 
marriage. All of them approved of the condition; 
but the young man ventured to suggest, that while 
he was a-pilgrimaging the maiden should reside 
under his father's roof. As he and his father showed 
a disposition to continue their fasts in case of the 
small favour not being granted, the Raja, though 
very loath to separate his beloved daughter and her 


dear friend, was driven to do it. And Sita was car- 
ried off, weeping bitterly, to the treasurer's palace. 
That dignitary solemnly committed her to the charge 
of his third and youngest wife, the lady Subhagya- 
Sundari, who was about her own age, and said, ' You 
must both live together, without any kind of wran- 
gling or contention, and do not go into other people's 
houses.' And the grand treasurer's son went off to 
perform his pilgrimages. 

It is no less sad than true, Raja Yikram, that in 
less than six days the disconsolate Sita wared weary 
of being Sita, took the ball out of her mouth, and 
became Manaswi. Alas for the infidelity of man- 
kind ! But it is gratifying to reflect that he met 
with the punishment with which the Pandit Muldev 
had threatened him. One night the magic pill 
slipped down his throat. When morning dawned, 
being unable to change himself into Sita, Manaswi 
was obliged to escape through a window from the 
lady Subhagya-Sundari's room. He sprained his 
ankle with the leap, and he lay for a time upon the 
ground where I leave him whilst convenient to me. 

When Muldev quitted the presence of Subichar, he 
resumed his old shape, and returning to his brother 
Pandit Shashi, told him what he had done. Where- 
upon Shashi, the misanthrope, looked black, and 
used hard words and told his friend that good 
nature and soft-heartedness had caused him to com- 
mit a very bad action a grievous sin. Incensed at 


this charge, the philanthropic Muldev became angry, 
and said, ' I have warned the youth about his purity ; 
what harm can come of it ? ' 

* Thou hast/ retorted Shashi, with irritating 
coolness, ' placed a sharp weapon in a fool's 

6 I have not,' cried Muldev, indignantly. 

' Therefore,' drawled the malevolent, ' you are 
answerable for all the mischief he does with it, and 
mischief assuredly he will do.' 

( He will not, by Brahma ! ' exclaimed Muldev. 

' He will, by Vishnu ! ' said Shashi, with an ami- 
ability produced by having completely upset his 
friend's temper ; * and if within the coming six 
months he does not disgrace himself, thou shalt have 
the whole of my book-case ; but if he does, the phi- 
lanthropic Muldev will use all his skill and inge- 
nuity in procuring the daughter of Raja Subichar as 
a wife for his faithful friend Shashi.' 

Having made this covenant, they both agreed not 
to speak of the matter till the autumn. 

The appointed time drawing near, the Pandits 
began to make enquiries about the effect of the 
magic pills. Presently they found out that Sita, 
alias Manaswi, had one night mysteriously disap- 
peared from the grand treasurer's house, and had 
not been heard of since that time. This, together 
with certain other things that transpired presently, 
convinced Muldev, who had cooled down in six 


months, that his friend had won the wager. He 
prepared to make honourable payment by handing a 
pill to old Shashi, who at once became a stout, 
handsome young Brahman, some twenty years old. 
Next putting a pill into his own mouth, he resumed 
the shape and form under which he had first ap- 
peared before Raja Subichar ; and, leaning upon his 
staff, he led the way to the palace. 

The king, in great confusion, at once recognised 
the old priest, and guessed the errand upon which 
he and the youth were come. However, he saluted 
them, and offered them seats, and receiving their 
blessings, he began to make enquiries about their 
health and welfare. At last he mustered courage 
to ask the old Brahman where he had been living 
for so long a time. 

* Great king,' replied the priest, * I went to seek 
after my son, and having found him, I bring him. to - 
your majesty. Give him his wife, and I will take 
them both home with me.' 

Raja Subichar prevaricated not a little ; but pre- 
sently being hard pushed, he related everything that 
had happened. 

' What is this that you have done ? ' cried Muldev, 
simulating excessive anger and astonishment. ' Why 
have you given my son's wife in marriage to another 
man ? You have done what you wished, and now, 
therefore, receive my Shrap (curse) ! ' 

The poor Eaja, in great trepidation, said, ' 


Divinity ! be not thus angry ! I will do whatever 
you bid me.' 

Said Muldev, c If through dread of my excom- 
munication you will freely give whatever I demand 
of you, then marry your daughter, Chandraprabha, 
to this my son. On this condition I forgive you. 
To me, now a necklace of pearls and a venomous 
krishna (cobra capella) ; the most powerful enemy 
and the kindest friend ; the most precious gem and 
a clod of earth; the softest bed and the hardest 
stone ; a blade of grass and the loveliest woman 
are precisely the same. All I desire is that in some 
holy place, repeating the name of God, I may soon 
end my days.' 

Subichar, terrified by this additional show of sanc- 
tity, at once summoned an astrologer, and fixed 
upon the auspicious moment and lunar influence. 
He did not consult the princess, and had he done 
so she would not have resisted his wishes. Chandra- 
prabha had heard of Sita's escape from the trea- 
surer's house, and she had on the subject her own 
suspicions. Besides which she looked forward to a 
certain event, and she was by no means sure that 
her royal father approved of the Gandharba form 
of marriage at least for his daughter. Thus the 
Brahman's son receiving in due time the princess and 
her dowry, took leave of the king and returned to 
his own village. 

Hardly, however, had Chandraprabha been mar- 


ried to Shashi the Pandit, when Manaswi went to 
him, and began to wrangle, and said, ' Give me my 
wife ! ' He had recovered from the effects of his 
fall, and having lost her he therefore loved her 
very dearly. 

But Shashi proved by reference to the astrologers, 
priests, and ten persons as witnesses, that he had 
duly wedded her, and brought her to his home; 
' therefore,' said he, ( she is my spouse.' 

Manaswi swore by all holy things that he had been 
legally married to her, and that he was the father of 
her child that was about to be. ' How then,' con- 
tinued he, ( can she be thy spouse ? ' He would have 
summoned Muldev as a witness, but that worthy, 
after remonstrating with him, disappeared. He 
called upon Chandraprabha to confirm his state- 
ment, but she put on an innocent face, and indig- 
nantly denied ever having seen the man. 

Still, continued the Baital, many people believed 
Manaswi's story, as it was marvellous and incre- 
dible. Even to the present day, there are many who 
decidedly think him legally married to the daughter 
of Raja Subichar. 

6 Then they are pestilent fellows ! ' cried the war- 
rior king, Yikram, who hated nothing more than 
clandestine and runaway matches. ' No one knew 
that the villain, Manaswi, was the father of her 
child ; whereas, the Pandit Shashi married her law- 


fully, before witnesses, and with, all the ceremonies. 1 
She therefore remains his wife, and the child will 
perform the funeral obsequies for him, and offer 
water to the manes of his pitris (ancestors). At 
least, so say law and justice. 5 

' Which justice is often unjust enough ! ' cried 
the Yampire ; ( and ply thy legs, mighty Raja ; let 

me see if thou canst reach the siras-tree before I do.' 


' The next story, Eaja Yikram, is remarkably 

1 This would be the verdict of a Hindu jury. 




FAR and wide through the lovely land overrun by the 
Arya from the Western Highlands spread the fame 
of TJnmadini, the beautiful daughter of Haridas the 
Brahman. In the numberless odes, sonnets, and 
acrostics addressed to her by a hundred Pandits and 
poets her charms were sung with prodigious triteness. 
Her presence was compared to light shining in a 
dark house ; her face to the fall moon ; her complexion 
to the yellow champaka flower j her curls to female 
snakes ; her eyes to those of the deer ; her eyebrows 
to bent bows ; her teeth to strings of little opals ; her 
feet to rubies and red gems, 1 and her gait to that of 
the wild goose. And none forgot to say that her 
voice affected the author like the song of the kokila 
bird, sounding from the shadowy brake, when the 
breeze blows coolly, or that the fairy beings of Indra's 
heaven would have shrunk away abashed at her 

1 Because stained with the powder of Mhendi, or the Lawsonia inermis 


But, Raja Yikram ! all the poets failed to win the 
fair Unmadini's love. To praise the beauty of a 
beauty is not to praise her. Extol her wit and 
talents, which has the zest of novelty, then you may 
succeed. For the same reason, read inversely, the 
plainer and cleverer is the bosom you would fire, the 
more personal you must be upon the subject of its 
grace and loveliness. Flattery, you know, is ever the 
match which kindles the flame of love. True it is 
that some by roughness of demeanour and bluntness 
in speech, contrasting with those whom they call the 
6 herd,' have the art to succeed in the service of the 
body less god. 1 But even they must 

The young prince Dharma Dhwaj could not help 
laughing at the thought of how this must sound in 
his father's ear. And the Raja hearing the ill-timed 
merriment, sternly ordered the Baital to cease his 
immoralities and to continue his story. 

Thus the lovely Unmadini, conceiving an extreme 
contempt for poets and literati, one day told her 
father, who greatly loved her, that her husband must 
be a fine young man who never wrote verses. Withal 
she insisted strongly on mental qualities and science, 
being a person of moderate mind and an adorer of 
talent when not perverted to poetry. 

As you may imagine, Raja Vikram, all the beauty's 
bosom friends, seeing her refuse so many good offers, 

1 Kansa's son ; so called because the god Shiva, when struck by his 
shafts, destroyed him with a fiery glance. 


confidently predicted that she would pass through the 
jungle and content herself with a bad stick, or that 
she would lead ring-tailed apes in Patala. 

At length when some time had elapsed, four suitors 
appeared from four different countries, all of them 
claiming equal excellence in youth and beauty, 
strength and understanding. And after paying their 
respects to Haridas, and telling him their wishes, they 
were directed to come early on the next morning and 
to enter upon the first ordeal an intellectual con- 

This they did. 

'Foolish the man,' quoth the young Mahasani, 
' that seeks permanence in this world frail as the 
stem of the plantain- tree, transient as the ocean 

* All that is high shall presently fall ; all that is low 
must finally perish. 

' Unwillingly do the manes of the dead taste the 
tears shed by their kinsmen : then wail not, but per- 
form the funeral obsequies with diligence.' 

'What ill-omened fellow is this?' quoth the fair 
Unmadini, who was sitting behind her curtain; 
c besides, he has dared to quote poetry ! ' There was 
little chance of success for that suitor. 

c She is called a good woman, and a woman of pure 
descent,' quoth the second suitor, ' who serves him to 
whom her father and mother have given her ; and it 
is written in the scriptures that a woman who in the 


lifetime of her husband becoming a devotee, engages 
in fasting, and in austere devotion, shortens his days, 
and hereafter falls into the fire. For it is said 

' A woman's bliss is found, not in the smile 
Of father, mother, friend, nor in herself ; 
Her husband is her only portion here, 
Her heaven hereafter.' 

The word c serve ' which might mean c obey,' was 
peculiarly disagreeable to the fair one's ears, and she 
did not admire the check so soon placed upon her 
devotion, or the decided language and manner of the 
youth. She therefore mentally resolved never again 
to see that person, whom she determined to be stupid 
as an elephant. 

'A mother,' said Gunakar, the third candidate, 
( protects her son in babyhood, and a father when 
his offspring is growing up. But the man of warrior 
descent defends his brethren at all times. Such is 
the custom of the world, and such is my state. I 
dwell on the heads of the strong ! ' 

Therefore those assembled together looked with 
great respect upon the man of valour. 

Devasharma, the fourth suitor, contented himself 
with listening to the others, who fancied that he was 
overawed by their cleverness. And when it came to 
his turn he simply remarked, ' Silence is better than 
speech.' Being further pressed, he said, * A wise man 
will not proclaim his age, nor a deception practised 
upon himself, nor his riches, nor the loss of riches, 


nor family faults, nor incantations, nor conjugal love, 
nor medicinal prescriptions, nor religious duties, nor 
gifts, nor reproach, nor the infidelity of his wife.' 

Thus ended the first trial. The master of the 
house dismissed the two former speakers, with many 
polite expressions and some trifling presents. Then 
having given betel to them, scented their garments 
with attar, and sprinkled rose water over their heads, 
he accompanied them to the door, showing much 
regret. The two latter speakers he begged to come 
on the next day. 

Gunakar and Devasharma did not fail. When they 
entered the assembly-room and took the seats pointed 
out to them, the father said, ' Be ye pleased to explain 
and make manifest the effects of your mental qualities. 
So shall I judge of them.' 

6 1 have made/ said Gunakar, <a four-wheeled 
carriage, in which the power resides to carry you in 
a moment wherever you may purpose to go.' 

' I have such power over the angel of death,', said 
Devasharma, ' that I can at all times raise a corpse, 
and enable my friends to do the same.' 

Now tell me by thy brains, warrior King Vikram, 
which of these two youths was the fitter husband for 
the maid? 

Either the Eaja could not answer the question, or 
perhaps he would not, being determined to break the 
spell which had already kept him walking to and fro 
for so many hours. Then the Baital, who had paused 


to let his royal carrier commit himself, seeing that 
the attempt had failed, proceeded without making 
any farther comment. 

The beautiful Unmadini was brought out, but she 
hung down her head and made no reply. Yet she 
took care to move both her eyes in the direction of 
Devasharma. Whereupon Haridas, quoting the pro- 
verb that ' pearls string with pearls,' formally be- 
trothed to him his daughter. 

The soldier suitor twisted the ends of his musta- 
chios into his eyes, which were red with wrath, and 
fumbled with his fingers about the hilt of his sword. 
But he was a man of noble birth, and presently his 
anger passed away. 

Mahasani the poet, however, being a shameless 
person and when can we be safe from such ? 
forced himself into the assembly and began to rage 
and to storm, and to quote proverbs in a loud tone of 
voice. He remarked that in this world women are a 
mine of grief, a poisonous root, the abode of solici- 
tude, the destroyers of resolution, the occasioners of 
fascination, and the plunderers of all virtuous quali- 
ties. From the daughter he passed to the father, 
and after saying hard things of him as a ' Maha- 
Brahman,' 1 who took cows and gold and worshipped 

1 ' Great Brahman ;' used contemptuously to priests who officiate for 
servile men. Brahmans lose their honour by the following things : By 
becoming servants to the king; by pursuing any secular business ; by 
acting priests to Shudras (serviles) ; by officiating as priests for a whole 
village ; and by neglecting any part of the three daily services. Many 


a monkey, he fell with a sweeping censure upon all 
priests and sons of priests, more especially Deva- 
sharma. As the bystanders remonstrated with him, 
he became more violent, and when Haridas, who was 
a. weak man, appeared terrified by his voice, look, and 
gesture, he swore a solemn oath that despite all the 
betrothals in the world, unless Unmadini became his 
wife he would commit suicide, and as a demon haunt 
the house and injure the inmates. 

Gunakar the soldier exhorted this shameless poet 
to slay himself at once, and to go where he pleased. 
But as Haridas reproved the warrior for inhumanity, 
Mahasani nerved by spite, love, rage, and perversity 
to an heroic death, drew a noose from his bosom, 
rushed out of the house, and suspended himself to the 
nearest tree. 

And, true enough, as the midnight gong struck, he 
appeared in the form of a gigantic and malignant 
Eakshasa (fiend), dreadfully frightened the house- 
hold of Haridas, and carried off the lovely Unmadini, 
leaving word that she was to be found on the topmost 
peak of Himalaya. 

The unhappy father hastened to the house where 
Devasharma lived. There, weeping bitterly and 

violate these rules ; yet to kill a Brahman is still one of the five great 
Hindu sins. In the present age of the world, the Brahman may not 
accept a gift of cows or of gold; of course he despises the law. As 
regards monkey worship, a certain Rajah of Nadiya is said to have 
expended 10,000. in marrying two monkeys with all the parade and 
splendour of the Hindu rite. 



wringing his hands in despair, he told the terrible 
tale, and besought his intended son-in-law to be up 
and doing. 

The young Brahman at once sought his late rival, 
and asked his aid. This the soldier granted at once, 
although he had been nettled at being conquered in 
love by a priestling. 

The carriage was at once made ready, and the 
suitors set out, bidding the father be of good cheer, 
and that before sunset he should embrace his daugh- 
ter. They then entered the vehicle ; Gunakar with 
cabalistic words caused it to rise high in the air, and 
Devasharma put to flight the demon by reciting the 
sacred verse, 1 ' Let us meditate on the supreme 
splendour (or adorable light) of that Divine Ruler 
(the sun) who may illuminate our understandings. 
Venerable men, guided by the intelligence, salute the 
divine sun (Sarvitri) with oblations and praise. Om !' 

Then they returned with the girl to the house, and 
Haridas blessed them, praising the sun aloud in the 
joy of his heart. Lest other accidents might hap- 
pen, he chose an auspicious planetary conjunction, 
and at a fortunate moment rubbed turmeric upon his 
daughter's hands. 

The wedding was splendid, and broke the hearts of 
twenty-four rivals. In due time Devasharma asked 
leave from his father-in-law to revisit his home, and 
carry with him his bride. This request being granted, 

1 The celebrated Gayatri, the Moslem Kalmah. 


he set out accompanied by Gunakar the soldier, who 
swore not to leave the couple before seeing them safe 
under their own roof-tree. 

It so happened that their road lay over the summits 
of the wild Vindhya hills, where dangers of all kinds 
are as thick as shells upon the shore of the deep. 
Here were rocks and jagged precipices making the 
traveller's brain whirl when he looked into them. 
There impetuous torrents roared and flashed down 
their beds of black stone, threatening destruction to 
those who would cross them. Now the path was lost 
in the matted thorny underwood and the pitchy 
shades of the jungle, deep and dark as the valley 
of death. Then the thunder-cloud licked the earth 
with its fiery tongue, and its voice shook the crags 
and filled their hollow caves. At times, the sun was 
so hot, that the wild birds fell dead from the air. 
And at every moment the wayfarers heard the trum- 
peting of giant elephants, the fierce howling of the 
tiger, the grisly laugh of the foul hyaena, and the 
whimpering of the wild dogs as they coursed by on 
the tracks of their prey. 

Yet, sustained by the five- armed god, 1 the little 
party passed safely through all these dangers. They 
had almost emerged from the damp glooms of the 
forest into the open plains which skirt the southern 
base of the hills, when one night the fair Unmadini 
saw a terrible vision. 

1 Kama again. 
T 2 


She beheld herself wading through a sluggish pool 
of muddy water, which rippled, curdling as she 
stepped into it, and which, as she advanced, dark- 
ened with the slime raised by her feet. She was 
bearing in her arms the semblance of a sick child, 
which struggled convulsively and filled the air with 
dismal wails. These cries seemed to be answered by 
a multitude of other children, some bloated like 
toads, others mere skeletons lying upon the bank, or 
floating upon the thick brown waters of the pond. 
And all seemed to address their cries to her, as if 
she were the cause of their weeping ; nor could all 
her efforts quiet or console them for a moment. 

When the bride awoke, she related all the particu- 
lars of her ill-omened vision to her husband; and 
the latter, after a short pause, informed her and his 
friend that a terrible calamity was about to befall 
them. He then drew from his travelling wallet a 
skein of thread. This he divided into three parts, 
one for each, and told his companions that in case of 
grievous bodily injury, the bit of thread wound round 
the wounded part would instantly make it whole. 
After which he taught them the Mantra, 1 or mystical 
word by which the lives of men are restored to their 
bodies, even when they have taken their allotted 
places amongst the stars, and which for evident 
reasons I do not want to repeat. It concluded, how- 

1 From ' Man,' to think ; primarily meaning, what makes man think. 

As they emerged upon the plain, they were attacked by the Kiratas. 


ever, with the three Vyahritis, or sacred syllables 
Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svar ! 

Eaja Vikrain was perhaps a little disappointed by 
this declaration. He made no remark, however, and 
the Baital thus pursued : 

As Devasharma foretold, an accident of a terrible 
nature did occur. On the evening of that day, as 
they emerged upon the plain, they were attacked by 
the Eiratas, or savage tribes of the mountain. 1 A 
small, black, wiry figure, armed with a bow and 
little cane arrows, stood in their way, signifying by 
gestures that they must halt and lay down their 
arms. As they continued to advance, be began to 
speak with a shrill chattering, like the note of an 
affrighted bird, his restless red eyes glared with rage, 
and he waved his weapon furiously round his head. 
Then from the rocks and thickets on both sides of 
the path poured a shower of shafts upon the three 

The unequal combat did not last long. Gunakar, 
the soldier, wielded his strong right arm with fatal 
effect and struck down some threescore of the foes. 
But new swarms came on like angry hornets buzz- 
ing round the destroyer of their nests. And when 
he fell, Devasharma, who had left him for a moment 
to hide his beautiful wife in the hollow of a tree, re- 
turned, and stood fighting over the body of his friend 
till he also, overpowered by numbers, was thrown to 

1 The Cirrhadae of classical writers. 


the ground. Then the wild men, drawing their 
knives, cut off the heads of their helpless enemies, 
stripped their bodies of all their ornaments, and de- 
parted, leaving the woman unharmed for good luck. 

When Unmadini, who had been more dead than 
alive during the affray, found silence succeed to the 
horrid din of shrieks and shouts, she ventured to 
creep out of her refuge in the hollow tree. And what 
does she behold? her husband and his friend are 
lying upon the ground, with their heads at a short 
distance from their bodies. She sat down and wept 

Presently, remembering the lesson which she had 
learned that very morning, she drew forth from her 
bosom the bit of thread and proceeded to use it. 
She approached the heads to the bodies, and tied 
some of the magic string round each neck. But the 
shades of evening were fast deepening, and in her 
agitation, confusion and terror, she made a curious 
mistake by applying the heads to the wrong trunks. 
After which, she again sat down, and having recited 
her prayers, she pronounced, as her husband had 
taught her, the life-giving incantation. 

In a moment the dead men were made alive. 
They opened their eyes, shook themselves, sat up 
and handled their limbs as if to feel that all was 
right. But something or other appeared to them 
all wrong. They placed their palms upon their fore- 
heads, and looked downwards, and started to their 

Then a horrid thought flashed across her mind ; she perceived her fatal mistake. 


feet and began to stare at their hands and legs. 
Upon which they scrutinised the very scanty articles 
of dress which the wild men had left upon them, 
and lastly one began to eye the other with curious 
puzzled looks. 

The wife, attributing their gestures to the con- 
fusion which one might expect to find in the brains 
of men who have just undergone so great a trial as 
amputation of the head must be, stood before them 
for a moment or two. She then with a cry of glad- 
ness flew to the bosom of the individual who was, as 
she supposed, her husband. He repulsed her, telling 
her that she was mistaken. Then, blushing deeply 
in spite of her other emotions, she threw both her 
beautiful arms round the neck of the person who 
must be, she naturally concluded, the right man. 
To her utter confusion, he also shrank back from her 

Then a horrid thought flashed across her mind : 
she perceived her fatal mistake, and her heart almost 
ceased to beat. 

' This is thy wife ! ' cried the Brahman's head that 
had been fastened to the soldier's body. 

' No she is thy wife ! ' replied the soldier's head 
which had been placed upon the Brahman's body. 

c Then she is my wife ! ' rejoined the first compound 

' By no means ! she is my wife,' cried the second. 

6 What then am I ? ' asked Devasharma-Gunakar. 


' What do you think I am ? ' answered Gunakar- 
Devasharma, with another question. 

' Unmadini shall be mine,' quoth the head. 

' You lie, she shall be mine, 9 shouted the body. 

' Holy Yama, 1 hear the villain/ exclaimed both of 

them at the same moment. 


In short, having thus begun, they continued to 
quarrel violently, each one declaring that the beau- 
tiful Unmadini belonged to him and to him only. 
How to settle their dispute Brahma the Lord of 
creatures only knows. I do not, except by cutting 
off their heads once more, and by putting them in 
their proper places. And I am quite sure, O Raja 
Yikram ! that thy wits are quite unfit to answer the 
question, To which of these two is the beautiful Un- 
madini wife ? It is even said amongst us Baitals 
that when this pair of half-husbands appeared in the 
presence of the Just King, a terrible confusion arose, 
each head declaiming all the sins and peccadilloes 
which its body had committed, and that Yama the 
holy ruler himself bit his forefinger with vexation. 2 

Here the young prince Dharma Dhwaj burst out 

1 The Hindu Pluto ; also called the Just King. 

2 Yama judges the dead, whose souls go to him in four hours and 
forty minutes; therefore a corpse cannot be burned till after that time. 
His residence is Yamalaya, and it is on the south side of the earth ; 
down South, as we say. (1 Sam. xxv. 1, and xxx. 15.) The Hebrews, 
like the Hindus, held the northern parts of the world to be higher than 
the southern. Hindus often joke a man who is seen walking in that 
direction, and ask him where he is going. 


laughing at the ridiculous idea of the wrong heads. 
And the warrior king, who like single-minded fathers 
in general was ever in the idea that his son had a 
velleity for deriding and otherwise vexing him, began 
a severe course of reproof. He reminded the prince 
of the common saying that merriment without cause 
degrades a man in the opinion of his fellows, and 
indulged him with a quotation extensively used by 
grave fathers, namely that the loud laugh bespeaks 
a vacant mind. After which he proceeded with much 
pompousness to pronounce the following opinion : 

' It is said in the Shastras ' 

( Your majesty need hardly display so much erudi- 
tion ! Doubtless it conies from the lips of Jayudeva 
or some other one of your Nine Gems of Science, 
who know much more about their songs and their 
stanzas than they do about their scriptures/ inso- 
lently interrupted the Baital, who never lost an op- 
portunity of carping at those reverend men. 

6 It is said in the Shastras,' continued Eaja Yikram 
sternly, after hesitating whether he should or should 
not administer a corporeal correction to the Vampire, 
* that Mother Ganga l is the queen amongst rivers, 
and the mountain Sumeru 2 is the monarch among 
mountains, and the tree Kalpavriksha 3 is the king of 

1 The ' Ganges,' in heaven called Mandakini. I have no idea why we 
still adhere to our venerable corruption of the word. 

2 The fabulous mountain supposed by Hindu geographers to occupy 
the centre of the universe. 

8 The all-bestowing tree in Indra's Paradise, which grants everything 


all trees, and the head of man is the best and most 
excellent of limbs. And thus, according to this 
reason, the wife belonged to him whose noblest po- 
sition claimed her.' 

c The next thing your majesty will do, I suppose/ 
continued the Baital, with a sneer, c is to support the 
opinions of the Digambara, who maintains that the 
soul is exceedingly rarefied, confined to one place, 
and of equal dimensions with the body, or the fancies 
of that worthy philosopher Jaimani, who conceiving 
soul and mind and matter to be things purely synony- 
mous, asserts outwardly and writes in his books that 
the brain is the organ of the mind which is acted 
upon by the immortal soul, but who inwardly and 
verily believes that the brain is the mind, and con- 
sequently that the brain is the soul or spirit or what- 
ever you please to call it; in fact that soul is a 
natural faculty of the body. A pretty doctrine, in- 
deed, for a Brahman to hold. You might as well- 
agree with me at once that the soul of man resides, 
when at home, either in a vein in the breast, or in 
the pit of his stomach, or that half of it is in a man's 
brain and the other or reasoning half is in his heart, 
an organ of his body.' 

' What has all this string of words to do with the 
matter, Vampire ? ' asked Raja Vikram, angrily. 

' Only,' said the demon laughing, ' that in my 

asked of it. It is the Tuba of El Islam, and is not unknown to the 
Apocryphal New Testament. 


opinion, as opposed to the Shastras and to Raja 
Vikram, that the beautiful Unmadini belonged, not 
to the head part but to the body part. Because the 
latter has an immortal soul in the pit of its stomach, 
whereas the former is a box of bone, more or less 
thick, and contains brains which are of much the 
same consistence as those of a calf.' 

* Villain ! ' exclaimed the Raja, 6 does not the soul 
or conscious life enter the body through the sagittal 
suture and lodge in the brain, thence to contemplate, 
through the same opening, the divine perfections ? ' 

' I must, however, bid you farewell for the moment, 
warrior king, Sakadhipati-Vikramaditya ! l I feel 
a sudden and ardent desire to change this cramped 
position for one more natural to me.' 

The warrior monarch had so far committed himself 
that he could not prevent the Vampire from flitting. 
But he lost no more time in following him than a 
grain of mustard, in its fall, stays on a cow's horn. 
And when he had thrown him over his shoulder, the 
king desired him of his own accord to begin a new 

' my left eyelid flutters,' exclaimed the Baital in 
despair, ( my heart throbs, my sight is dim : surely 
now beginneth the end. It is as Vidhata hath 
written on my forehead how can it be otherwise ? 2 

1 ' Vikramaditya, Lord of the Saka.' This is prevoyance on the part 
of the Vampire ; the king had not acquired the title. 

2 On the sixth day after the child's birth, the god Vidhata writes all 


Still listen, mighty Raja, whilst I recount to you a 
true story, and Saraswati l sit on iny tongue.' 

its fate upon its forehead. The Moslems have a similar idea, and 
probably it passed to the Hindus. 

1 Goddess of eloquence. ' The waters of the Saraswati ' is the 
classical Hindu phrase for the mirage. 




THE Baital said, king, in the Gaur country, Vard- 
dhman by name, there is a city, and one called 
Gunshekhar was the Raja of that land. His minister 
was one Abhaichand, a Jain, by whose teachings the 
king also came into the Jain faith. 

The worship of Shiva and of Vishnu, gifts of cows, 
gifts of lands, gifts of rice balls, gaming and spirit 
drinking, all these he prohibited. In the city no 
man could get leave to do them, and as for bones, 
into the Ganges no man was allowed to throw them, 
and in these matters the minister, having taken 
orders from the king, caused a proclamation to be 
made about the city saying, 'Whoever these acts 
shall do, the Raja having confiscated, will punish him 
and banish him from the city.' 

1 This story is perhaps the least interesting in the collection. I have 
translated it literally, in order to give an idea of the original. The 
reader will remark in it the source of our own nursery tale about the 
princess who was so high born and delicately bred, that she could dis- 
cover the three peas laid beneath a straw mattress and four feather 
beds. The Hindus, however, believe that Sybaritism can be carried so 
far ; I remember my Pandit asserting the truth of the story. 


Now one day the Diwan 1 began to say to the 
Raja, c O great king, to the decisions of the Faith be 
pleased to give ear. Whosoever takes the life of 
another, his life also in the future birth is taken : 
this very sin causes him to be born again and again 
Tipon earth and to die. And thus he ever continues 
to be born and to die. Hence for one who has found 
entrance into this world to cultivate religion is right 
and proper. Be pleased to behold ! By love, by 
wrath, by pain, by desire, and by fascination over- 
powered, the gods Brainha, Yishnu, and Mahadeva 
(Shiva) in various ways upon the earth are ever 
becoming incarnate. Far better than they is the 
Cow, who is free from passion, enmity, drunkenness, 
anger, covetousness, and inordinate affection, who 
supports mankind, and whose progeny in many ways 
give ease and solace to the creatures of the world. 
These deities and sages (munis) believe in the 
Cow. 2 

1 A minister. The word, as is the case with many in this collection, 
is quite modern Moslem, and anachronistic. 

2 The cow is called the mother of the gods, and is declared by Bramha, 
the first person of the triad, Vishnu and Shiva being the second and the 
third, to be a proper object of worship. 'If a European speak to the 
Hindu about eating the flesh of cows,' says an old missionary, ' they 
immediately raise their hands to their ears ; yet milkmen, carmen, and 
farmers beat the cow as unmercifully as a carrier of coals beats his ass 
in England.' 

The Jains or Jainas (from ji, to conquer ; as subduing the passions) 
are one of the atheistical sects with whom the Erahmans have of old 
carried on the fiercest religious controversies, ending in many a sangui- 
nary fight. Their tenets are consequently exaggerated and ridiculed, as 
in the text. They believe that there is no such God as the common 
notions on the subject point out, and they hold that the highest act of 


'For such reason to believe in the gods is not 
good. Upon this earth be pleased to believe in the 
Cow. It is our duty to protect the life of everyone, 
beginning from the elephant, through ants, beasts, 
and birds, up to man. In the world righteousness 
equal to that there is none. Those who, eating the 
flesh of other creatures, increase their own flesh, shall 
in the fulness of time assuredly obtain the fruition of 
Narak ; l hence for a man it is proper to attend to 
the conservation of life. They who understand not 
the pain of other creatures, and who continue to slay 
and to devour them, last but few days in the land, 
and return to mundane existence, maimed, limping, 
one-eyed, blind, dwarfed, hunchbacked, and imperfect 
in such wise. Just as they consume the bodies of 
beasts and birds, even so they end by spoiling their 
own bodies. From drinking spirits also the great 
sin arises, hence the consuming of spirits and flesh 
is not advisable.' 

virtue is to abstain from injuring sentient creatures. Man does not 
possess an immortal spirit : death is the same to Bramha and to a fly. 
Therefore there is no heaven or hell separate from present pleasure or 
pain. Hindu Epicureans I ' Epicuri de grege porci.' 

1 "Narak is one of the multitudinous places of Hindu punishment, 
said to adjoin the residence of Ajarna. The less cultivated Jains believe 
in a region of torment. The illuminati, however, have a sovereign 
contempt for the Creator, for a future state, and for all religious cere- 
monies. As Hindus, however, they believe in future births of mankind, 
somewhat influenced by present actions. The ' next birth ' in the mouth 
of a Hindu, we are told, is the same as ' to-morrow ' in the mouth of a 
Christian. The metempsychosis is on an extensive scale : according to 
some, a person who loses human birth must pass through eight millions 
of successive incarnations fish, insects, worms, birds, and beasts 
before he can reappear as a man. 


The minister having in this manner explained to 
the king the sentiments of his own mind, so brought 
him over to the Jain faith, that whatever he said, so 
the king did. Thus in Brahmans, in Jogis, in Jan- 
ganis, in Sevras, in Sannyasis, 1 and in religious 
mendicants, no man believed, and according to this 
creed the rule was carried on. 

Now one day, being in the power of Death, Eaja 
Gunshekhar died. Then his son Dharmadhwaj sat 
upon the carpet (throne), and began to rule. Pre- 
sently he caused the minister Abhaichand to be 
seized, had his head shaved all but seven locks of 
hair, ordered his face to be blackened, and mounting 
him on an ass, with drums beaten, had him led all 
about the city, and drove him from the kingdom. 
From that time he carried on his rule free from all 

It so happened that in the season of spring, the 
king Dharmadhwaj, taking his queens with him, 
went for a stroll in the garden, where there was a 
large tank with lotuses blooming within it. The 

1 Jogi, or Yogi, properly applies to followers of the Yoga or Pata- 
njala school, who by ascetic practices acquire power over the elements. 
Vulgarly, it is a general term for mountebank vagrants, worshippers of 
Shiva. The Janganis adore the same deity, and carry about a Linga. 
The Sevras are Jain beggars, who regard their chiefs as superior to the 
gods of other sects. The Sannyasis are mendicant followers of Shiva ; 
they never touch metals or fire, and, in religious parlance, they take up 
the staff. They are opposed to the Viragis, worshippers of Vishnu, 
who contend as strongly against the worshippers of gods who receive 
bloody offerings, as a Christian could do against idolatry. 


Eaja, admiring its beauty, took off his clothes and 
went down to bathe. 

After plucking a flower and coming to the bank, 
he was going to give it into the hands of one of his 
queens, when it slipped from his fingers, fell upon 
her foot, and broke it with the blow. Then the Eaja 
being alarmed, at once came out of the tank, and 
began to apply remedies to her. 

Hereupon night came on, and the moon shone 
brightly : the falling of its rays on the body of the 
second queen formed blisters. And suddenly from a 
distance the sound of a wooden pestle came out of a 
householder's dwelling, when the third queen fainted 
away with a severe pain in the head. 

Having spoken thus much the Baital said, ' my 
king ! of these three which is the most delicate ? ' 
The Eaja answered, * She indeed is the most delicate 
who fainted in consequence of the headache.' The 
Baital hearing this speech, went and hung himself 
from the very same tree, and the Eaja having gone 
there and taken him down and fastened him in the 
bundle and placed him on his shoulder, carried him 




THERE is a queer time coining, Raja Vikram ! 
a queer time coming (said the Vampire), a queer 
time coming. Elderly people like you talk abun- 
dantly about the good old days that were, and 
about the degeneracy of the days that are. I wonder 
what you would say if you could but look forward a 
few hundred years. 

Brahmans shall disgrace themselves by becoming 
soldiers, and being killed, and Serviles (Shudras) 
shall dishonour themselves by wearing the thread of 
the twice-born, and by refusing to be slaves ; in fact, 
society shall be all ' mouth ' and mixed castes. 1 The 
courts of justice shall be disused; the great works of 
peace shall no longer be undertaken ; wars shall last 
six weeks, and their causes shall be clean forgotten ; 
the useful arts and great sciences shall die starved ; 

1 The Brahman, or priest, is supposed to proceed from the mouth of 
Bramha, the creating person of the Triad ; the Khshatriyas (soldiers) 
from his arms ; the Vaishyas (enterers into business) from his thighs ; 
and the Shudras, ' who take refuge in the Brahmans,' from his feet. 
Only high caste men should assume the thread at the age of puberty. 


there shall be no Gems of Science ; there shall be a 
hospital for destitute kings, those, at least, who* do 
not lose their heads, and no Vikrama: 

A severe shaking stayed for a moment the Vam- 
pire's tongue. 

He presently resumed. Briefly, building tanks ; 
feeding Brahmans; lying when one ought to lie; 
suicide ; the burning of widows, and the burying of 
live children, shall become utterly unfashionable. 

The consequence of this singular degeneracy, 
mighty Vikram, will be that strangers shall dwell 
beneath the roof tree in Bharat Khanda (India), and 
impure barbarians shall call the land their own. 
They come from a wonderful country, and I am most 
surprised that they bear it. The sky which ought to 
be gold and blue is there grey, a kind of dark white ; 
the sun looks deadly pale, and the moon as if he were 
dead. 1 The sea, when not dirty green, glistens 
with yellowish foam, and as you approach the shore, 
tall ghastly cliffs, like the skeletons of giants, stand 
up to receive or ready to repel. During the 
greater part of the sun's Dakhshanayan (southern 
declination) the country is covered with a sort of cold 
white stuff which dazzles the eyes ; and at such times 
the air is obscured with what appears to be a shower 
of white feathers or flocks of cotton. At other sea- 
sons there is a pale glare produced by the mist clouds 
which spread themselves over the lower firmament. 

1 Soma, the moon, I have said, is masculine in India. 
U 2 


Even the faces of the people are white ; the men are 
white when not painted blue, the women are whiter, 
and the children are whitest : these indeed often have 
white hair. 

' Truly,' exclaimed Dharma Dhwaj, ' says the 
proverb, "Whoso seeth the world telleth many a 

At present (resumed the Vampire, not heeding the 
interruption), they run about naked in the woods, 
being merely Hindu outcastes. Presently they will 
change the wonderful white Pariahs ! They will 
eat all food indifferently, domestic fowls, onions, 
hogs fed in the street, donkeys, horses, hares, and 
(most horrible !) the flesh of the sacred cow. They 
will imbibe what resembles meat of colocynth, mixed 
with water, producing a curious frothy liquid, and a 
fiery stuff which burns the mouth, for their milk will 
be mostly chalk and pulp of brains ; they will ignore 
the sweet juices of fruits and sugar-cane, and as for 
the pure element they will drink it, but only as 
medicine. They will shave their beards instead of 
their heads, and stand upright when they should sit 
down, and squat upon a wooden frame instead of a 
carpet, and appear in red and black like the children 
of Yama. 1 They will never offer sacrifices to the 
manes of ancestors, leaving them after their death to 
fry in the hottest of places. Yet will they perpetu- 
ally quarrel and fight about their faith ; for their 

1 Pluto. 


tempers are fierce, and they would burst if they 
could not harm one another. Even now the children, 
who amuse themselves with making puddings on the 
shore, that is to say, heaping up the sand, always 
end their little games with c punching,' which means 
shutting the hand and striking, one another's heads, 
and it is soon found that the children are the fathers 
of the men. 

These wonderful white outcastes will often be 
ruled by female chiefs, and it is likely that the 
habit of prostrating themselves before a woman who 
has not the power of cutting off a single head, may 
account for their unusual degeneracy and unclean- 
ness. They will consider no occupation so noble as 
running after a jackal ; they will dance for them- 
selves, holding on to strange women, and they will 
take a pride in playing upon instruments, like young 
music girls. 

The women of course, relying upon the aid of the 
female chieftains, will soon emancipate themselves 
from the rules of modesty. They will eat with their 
husbands and with other men, and yawn and sit 
carelessly before them showing the backs of their 
heads. They will impudently quote the words, ' B} r 
confinement at home, even under affectionate and 
observant guardians, women are not secure, but 
those are really safe who are guarded by their own 
inclinations ; ' as the poet sang 

Woman obeys one only word, her heart. 


They will not allow their husbands to have more 
than one wife, and even the single wife will not be his 
. slave when he needs her services, busying herself in 
the collection of wealth, in ceremonial purification, 
and feminine duty ; in the preparation of daily food 
and in the superintendence of household utensils. 
What said Rama of Sita his wife ? 6 If I chanced to 
be angry, she bore my impatience like the patient 
earth without a murmur ; in the hour of necessity 
she cherished me as a mother does her child ; in the 
moments of repose she was a lover to me ; in times 
of gladness she was to me as a friend.' And it is 
said, ' a religious wife assists her husband in his 
worship with a spirit as devout as his own. She 
gives her whole mind to make him happy ; she is as 
faithful to him as a shadow to the body, and she 
esteems him, whether poor or, rich, good or bad, 
handsome or deformed. In his absence or his sick- 
ness she renounces every gratification ; at his death 
she dies with him, and he enjoys heaven as the fruit 
of her virtuous deeds. Whereas if she be guilty of 
many wicked actions and he should die first, he 
must suffer much for the demerits of his wife.' 

But these women will talk aloud, and scold as the 
braying ass, and make the house a scene of variance, 
like the snake with the ichneumon, the owl with the 
crow, for they have no fear of losing their noses or 
parting with their ears. They will (0 my mother !) 


converse with strange men and take their hands; 
they will receive presents from them, and, worst of 
all, they will show their white faces openly without 
the least sense of shame ; they will ride publicly in 
chariots and mount horses, whose points they pride 
themselves upon knowing, and eat and drink in 
crowded places their husbands looking on the while, 
and perhaps even leading them through the streets. 
And she will be deemed the pinnacle of the pagoda 
of perfection, that most excels in wit and shameless- 
ness, and who can turn to water the livers of most 
men. They will dance and sing instead of minding 
their children, and when these grow up they will 
send them out of the house to shift for themselves, 
and care little if they never see them again. 1 But 
the greatest sin of all will be this : when widowed 
they will ever be on the look-out for a second 
husband, and instances will be known of women 
fearlessly marrying three, four, and five times. 2 You 
would think that all this license satisfies them. But 
no ! The more they have the more their weak minds 
covet. The men have admitted them to an equality, 
they will aim at an absolute superiority, and claim 
respect and homage ; they will eternally raise tem- 

1 Nothing astonishes Hindus so much as the apparent want of affec- 
tion between the European parent and child. 

2 A third marriage is held improper and baneful to a Hindu woman. 
Hence, before the nuptials they betroth the man to a tree, upon which 
the evil expends itself, and the tree dies. 


pests about their rights, and if any one should ven- 
ture to chastise them as they deserve, they would 
call him a coward and run off to the judge. 

The men will, I say, be as wonderful about their 
women as about all other matters. The sage of 
Bharat Khanda guards the frail sex strictly, knowing 
its frailty, and avoids teaching it to read and write, 
which it will assuredly use for a bad purpose. For 
women are ever subject to the god 1 with the sugar- 
cane bow and string of bees, and arrows tipped with 
heating blossoms, and to him they will ever sur- 
render man, dhaii, tan mind, wealth, and body. 
When, by exceeding cunning, all human precautions 
have been made vain, the wise man bows to Fate, 
and he forgets, or he tries to forget, the past. 
Whereas this race of white Pariahs will purposely 
lead their women into every kind of temptation, 
and, when an accident occurs, they will rage at and 
accuse them, killing ten thousand with a word, and 
cause an uproar, and talk scandal and be scandalised, 
and go before the magistrate, and make all the evil 
as public as possible. One would think they had in 
every way done their duty to their women ! 

And when all this change shall have come over 
them, they will feel restless and take flight, and fall 
like locusts upon the Aryavartta (land of India). 
Starving in their own country, they will find enough 
to eat here, and to carry away also. They will 

1 Kama. 


be mischievous as the saw with which ornament 
makers trim their shells, and cut ascending as well as 
descending. To cultivate their friendship will be like 
making a gap in the water, and their partisans will 
ever fare worse than their foes. They will be selfish as 
crows, which, though they eat every kind of flesh, will 
not permit other birds to devour that of the crow. 

In the beginning they will hire a shop near the 
mouth of mother Ganges, and they will sell lead 
and bullion, fine and coarse woollen cloths, and all 
the materials for intoxication. Then they will begin 
to send for soldiers beyond the sea, and to enlist 
warriors in Zambudwipa (India). They will from 
shopkeepers become soldiers : they will beat and be 
beaten; they will win and lose; but the power of 
their star and the enchantments of their Queen 
Kompani, a daina or witch who can draw the blood 
out of a man and slay him with a look, will turn 
everything to their good. Presently the noise of 
their armies shall be as the roaring of the sea ; the 
dazzling of their arms shall blind the eyes like light- 
ning; their battle-fields shall be as the dissolution 
of the world; and the slaughter- ground shall re- 
semble a garden of plantain trees after a storm. At 
length they shall spread like the march of a host of 
ants over the land. They will swear, c Dehar Ganga ! ' l 
that they hate nothing so much as being compelled 
to destroy an army, to take and loot a city, or to 

1 An oath, meaning, ' From such a falsehood preserve me, Ganges ! ' 


add a rich slip of territory to their rule. And yet 
they will go on killing and capturing and adding 
region to region, till the Abode of Snow (Himalaya) 
confines them to the north, the Sindhu-naddi (Indus) 
to the west, and elsewhere the sea. Even in this, 
too, they will demean themselves as lords and masters, 
scarcely allowing poor Samudradevta 1 to rule his 
own waves. 

Raja Vikram was in a silent mood, otherwise he 
would not have allowed such ill-omened discourse to 
pass uninterrupted. Then the Baital, who in vain had 
often paused to give the royal carrier a chance of 
asking him a curious question, continued his recital 
in a dissonant and dissatisfied tone of voice. 

By my feet and your head, 2 warrior king ! it will 
fare badly in those days for the Rajas of Hindusthan, 
when the red-coated men of Shaka 3 shall come 
amongst them. Listen to my words. 

In the Yindhya Mountain there will be a city 
named Dharmapur, whose king will be called Maha- 
bul. He will be a mighty warrior, well skilled in the 
dhanur-veda (art of war), 4 and will always lead his 
own armies to the field. He will duly regard all the 
omens, such as a storm at the beginning of the march, 

1 The Indian Neptune. 

2 A highly insulting form of adjuration. 

8 The British Islands according to Wilford. 

4 Literally the science (veda) of the bow (dhanush). This weapon, 
as everything amongst the Hindus, had a divine origin ; it was of three 
kinds the common bow, the pellet or stone bow, and the crossbow or 


an earthquake, the implements of war dropping- from 
the hands of the soldiery, screaming vultures passing 
over or walking near the army, the clouds and the sun's 
rays waxing red, thunder in a clear sky, the moon 
appearing small as a star, the dropping of blood from 
the clouds, the falling of lightning bolts, darkness 
filling the four quarters of the heavens, a corpse or a 
pan of water .being carried to the right of the army, 
the sight of .a female beggar with dishevelled hair, 
dressed in red, and preceding the vanguard, the start- 
ing of the flesh over the left ribs of the commander- 
in-chief, and the weeping or turning back of the 
horses when urged forward. 

He will encourage his men to single combats, and 
will carefully train them to gymnastics. Many of the 
wrestlers and boxers will be so strong that they will 
often beat all the extremities of the antagonist into 
his body, or break his back, or rend him into two 
pieces. He will promise heaven to those who shall 
die in the front of battle, and he will have them 
taught certain dreadful expressions of abuse to be 
interchanged with the enemy when commencing the 
contest. Honours will be conferred on those who 
never turn their backs in an engagement, who mani- 
fest a contempt of death, who despise fatigue, as well 
as the most formidable enemies, who shall be found 
invincible in every combat, and who display a courage 
which increases before danger, like the glory of the 
sun advancing to his meridian splendour. 


But King Mahabul will be attacked by the white 
Pariahs, who, as usual, will employ against him gold, 
fire, and steel. With gold they will win over his best 
men, and persuade them openly to desert when the 
army is drawn out for battle. They will use the ter- 
rible ' fire weapon,' l large and small tubes, which 
discharge flame and smoke, and bullets as big as 
those hurled by the bow of Bharata. 2 And instead 
of using swords and shields, they will fix daggers to 
the end of their tubes, and thrust with them like 

Mahabul, distinguished by valour and military skill, 
will march out of his city to meet the white foe. In 
front will be the ensigns, bells, cows' -tails, and flags, 
the latter painted with the bird Garura, 3 the bull of 
Shiva, the Bauhinia tree, the monkey- god Hanuman, 
the lion and the tiger, the fish, an alms-dish, and 
seven palm trees. Then will come the footmen armed 
with fire-tubes, swords and shields, spears and daggers, 
clubs, and bludgeons. They will be followed by fight- 
ing men on horses and oxen, on camels and elephants. 
The musicians, the water-carriers, and lastly the 
stores on carriages, will bring up the rear. 

The white outcastes will come forward in a long 
thin red thread, and vomiting fire like the Jwala- 

1 It is a disputed point whether the ancient Hindus did or did not 
know the use of gunpowder. 

2 It is said to have discharged balls, each 6,400 pounds in weight. 

3 A kind of Mercury, a god with the head and wings of a bird, who 
is the Vahan or vehicle of the second person of the Triad, Vishnu. 


mukhi. 1 King Mahabul will receive them with his 
troops formed in a circle ; another division will be in 
the shape of a half-moon ; a third like a cloud, whilst 
others shall represent a lion, a tiger, a carriage, a 
lily, a giant, and a bull. But as the elephants will 
all turn round when they feel the fire, and trample 
upon their own men, and as the cavalry defiling in 
front of the host will openly gallop away ; Mahabul, 
being thus without resource, will enter his palanquin, 
and accompanied by his queen and their only daughter, 
will escape at night-time into the forest. 

The unfortunate three will be deserted by their 
small party, and live for a time on jungle food, fruits, 
and roots ; they will even be compelled to eat game. 
After some days they will come in sight of a village, 
which Mahabul will enter to obtain victuals. There 
the wild Bhils, famous for long ears, will come up, 
and surrounding the party, will bid the Eaja throw 
down his arms. Thereupon Mahabul, skilful in aim- 
ing, twanging and wielding the bow on all sides, so 
as to keep off the bolts of the enemy, will discharge 
his bolts so rapidly, that one will drive forward 
another, and none of the barbarians will be able to 
approach. But he will have failed to bring his quiver 
containing an inexhaustible store of arms, some of 
which, pointed with diamonds, shall have the faculty 
of returning again to their case after they have done 

1 The celebrated burning springs of Baku, near the Caspian, are so 
called. There are many other ' fire mouths.' 


their duty. The conflict will continue three hours, and 
many of the Bhils will be slain : at length a shaft 
will cleave the king's skull, he will fall dead, and 
one of the wild men will come up and cut off his 

When the queen and the princess shall have seen 
that Mahabul fell dead, they will return to the forest 
weeping and beating their bosoms. They will thus 
escape the Bhils, and after journeying on for four 
miles, at length they will sit down wearied, and re- 
volve many thoughts in their minds. 

They are very lovely (continued the Yampire), as 
I see them with the eye of clear-seeing. What 
beautiful hair ! it hangs down like the tail of the 
cow of Tartary, or like the thatch of a house ; it is 
shining as oil, dark as the clouds, black as blackness 
itself. What charming faces ! likest to water-lilies, 
with eyes as the stones in unripe mangos, noses re- 
sembling the beaks of parrots, teeth like pearls set 
in corals, ears like those of the red-throated vulture, 
and mouths like the water of life. What excellent 
forms ! breasts like boxes containing essences, the 
unopened fruit of plantains or a couple of crabs ; 
loins the width of a span, like the middle of the viol ; 
legs like the trunk of an elephant, and feet like the 
yellow lotus. 

And a fearful place is that jungle, a dense dark 
mass of thorny shrubs, and ropy creepers, and tall 
canes, and tangled brake, and gigantic gnarled trees, 


which groan wildly in the night wind's embrace. 
But a wilder horror urges the unhappy women on ; 
they fear the polluting touch of the Bhils; once 
more they rise and plunge deeper into its gloomy 

The day dawns. The white Pariahs have done 
their usual work. They have cut off the hands of 
some, the feet and heads of others, whilst many they 
have crushed into shapeless masses, or scattered in 
pieces upon the ground. The field is strewed with 
corpses, the river runs red, so that the dogs and 
jackals swim in blood ; the birds of prey sitting on 
the branches, drink man's life from the stream, and 
enjoy the sickening smell of burnt flesh. 

Such will be the scenes acted in the fair land of 

Perchance, two white outcastes, father and son, 
who with a party of men are scouring the forest and 
slaying everything, fall upon the path which the 
women have taken shortly before. Their attention 
is attracted by footprints leading towards a place 
full of tigers, leopards, bears, wolves, and wild dogs. 
And they are utterly confounded when, after inspec- 
tion, they discover the sex of the wanderers. 

6 How is it,' shall say the father, ' that the foot- 
prints of mortals are seen in this part of the forest ? ' 

The son shall reply, ' Sir, these are the marks of 
women's feet : a man's foot would not be so small.' 

* It is passing strange,' shall rejoin the elder white 


Pariah, ' but thou speakest truth. Certainly such a 
soft and delicate foot cannot belong to any one but 
a woman.' 

' They have only just left the track/ shall continue 
the son, c and look ! this is the step of a married 
woman. See how she treads on the inside of her 
sole, because of the bending of her ankles.' And . 
the younger white outcaste shall point to the queen's 

6 Come, let us search the forest for them,' shall cry 
the father, * what an opportunity of finding wives 
fortune has thrown in our hands. But no ! thou 
art in error,' he shall continue, after examining the 
track pointed out by his son, ' in supposing this to 
be the sign of a matron. Look at the other, it is 
much longer; the toes have scarcely touched the 
ground, whereas the marks of the heels are deep. 
Of a truth this must be the married woman.' And 
the elder white outcaste shall point to the footprints 
of the princess. 

6 Then,' shall reply the son, who admires the 
shorter foot, c let us first seek them, and when we 
find them, give to me her who has the short feet, and 
take the other to wife thyself.' 

Having made this agreement they shall proceed 
on their way, and presently they shall find the women 
lying on the earth, half dead with fatigue and fear. 
Their legs and feet are scratched and torn by bram- 
bles, their ornaments have fallen off, and their 


garments are in strips. The two white outcastes 
find little difficulty, the first surprise over, in per- 
suading the unhappy women to follow them home, 
and with great delight, conformably to their arrange- 
ment, each takes up his prize on his horse and rides 
back to the tents. The son takes the queen, and 
the father the princess. 

In due time two marriages come to pass; the 
father, according to agreement, espouses the long 
foot, and the son takes to wife the short foot. And 
after the usual interval, the elder white outcaste, who 
had married the daughter, rejoices at the birth of a 
boy, and the younger white outcaste, who had married 
the mother, is gladdened by the sight of a girl. 

Now then, by my feet and your head, warrior 
king Yikram, answer me one question. What rela- 
tionship will there be between the children of the two 
white Pariahs ? 

Vikrain's brow waxed black as a charcoal-burner's, 
when he again heard the most irreverent oath ever 
proposed to mortal king. The question presently 
attracted his attention, and he turned over the 
Baital's words in his head, confusing the ties of 
filiality, brotherhood, and relationship, and connec- 
tion in general. 

6 Hem ! ' said the warrior king, at last perplexed, 
and remembering, in his perplexity, that he had 
better hold his tongue ' ahem ! ' 


' I think your majesty spoke ? ' asked the Vampire, 
in an inquisitive and insinuating tone of voice. 

f Hem ! ' ejaculated the monarch. 

The Baital held his peace for a few minutes, 
coughing once or twice impatiently. He suspected 
that the extraordinary nature of this last tale, com- 
bined with the use of the future tense, had given 
rise to a taciturnity so unexpected in the warrior 
king. He therefore asked if Yikram the Brave would 
not like to hear another little anecdote. 

' This time the king did not even say hem ! ' 
Having walked at an unusually rapid pace, he dis- 
tinguished at a distance the fire kindled by the 
devotee, and he hurried towards it with an effort 
which left him no breath wherewith to speak, even 
had he been so inclined. 

6 Since your majesty is so completely dumb- 
foundered by it, perhaps this acute young prince 
may be able to answer my question ? ' insinuated the 
Baital, after a few minutes of anxious suspense. 

But Dharma Dhwaj answered not a syllable. 



AT Eaja Vikram's silence the Baital was greatly 
surprised, and he praised the royal courage and 
resolution to the skies. Still he did not give up the 
contest at once. 

' Allow me, great king,' pursued the Demon, in a 
dry tone of voice, 6 to wish you joy. After so many 
failures you have at length succeeded in repressing 
your loquacity. I will not stop to inquire whether it 
was humility and self-restraint which prevented your 
answering my last question, or whether it was mere 
ignorance and inability. Of course I suspect the 
latter, but to say the truth your condescension in at 
last taking a Vampire's advice, flatters me so much, 
that I will not look too narrowly into cause or 

Eaja Yikram winced, but maintained a stubborn 
silence, squeezing his lips lest they should open invo- 

fi Now, however, your majesty has mortified, we 
will suppose, a somewhat exacting vanity, I also will 
in my turn forego the pleasure which I had antici- 
pated in seeing you a corpse and in entering your 

x 2 


royal body for a short time, just to know how queer 
it must feel to be a king. And what is more, I will 
now perform my original promise, and you shall de- 
rive from me a benefit which none but myself can 
bestow. First, however, allow me to ask you, will you 
let me have a little more air ? ' 

Dharma Dhwaj pulled his father's sleeve, but this 
time Raja Yikram required no reminder : wild horses 
or the executioner's saw, beginning at the shoulder, 
would not have drawn a word from him. Observing 
his obstinate silence, the Baital, with an ominous 
smile, continued : 

6 Now give ear, warrior king, to what I am about 
to tell thee, and bear in mind the giant's saying, " A 
man is justified in killing one who has a design to 
kill him." The young merchant Mai Deo, who placed 
such magnificent presents at your royal feet, and 
Shanta-Shil the devotee-saint, who works his spells, 
incantations, and magical rites in a cemetery on the 
banks of the Godaveri river, are, as thou knowest, 
one person the terrible Jogi, whose wrath your 
father aroused in his folly, and whose revenge your 
blood alone can satisfy. With regard to myself, the 
oilman's son, the same Jogi, fearing least I might 
interfere with his projects of universal dominion, 
slew me by the power of his penance, and has kept 
me suspended, a trap for you, head downwards from 
the siras-tree. 

' That Jogi it was, you now know, who sent you to 


fetch me back to him on your back. And when you 
cast me at his feet he will return thanks to you and 
praise your valour, perseverance and resolution to the 
skies. I warn you to beware. He will lead you to 
the shrine of Durga, and when he has finished his 
adoration he will say to you, " great king, salute my 
deity with the eight-limbed reverence." ' 

Here the Yampire whispered for a time and in a 
low tone, lest some listening goblin might carry his 
words if spoken out loud to the ears of the devotee 

At the end of the monologue a rustling sound was 
heard. It proceeded from the Baital, who was dis- 
engaging himself from the dead body in the bundle, 
and the burden became sensibly lighter upon the 
monarch's back. 

The departing Baital, however, did not forget to 
bid farewell to the warrior king and his son. He 
complimented the former for the last time, in his 
own way, upon the royal humility and the prodigious 
self -mortification which he had displayed qualities, 
he remarked, which never failed to ensure the pro- 
prietor's success in all the worlds. 

Raja Vikram stepped out joyfully, and soon reached 
the burning-ground. There he found the Jogi, dressed 
in his usual habit, a deerskin thrown over his back, 
and twisted reeds instead of a garment hanging round 
his loins. The hair had fallen from his limbs and his 
skin was bleached ghastly white by exposure to the 



elements. A fire seemed to proceed from his mouth, 
and the matted locks dropping from his head to the 
ground were changed by the rays of the sun, to the 
colour of gold or saffron. He had the beard of a goat 
and the ornaments of a king ; his shoulders were 
high and his arms long, reaching to his knees : his 

There he found the Jogi. 

nails grew to such a length as to curl round the ends 
of his fingers, and his feet resembled those of a tiger. 
He was drumming upon a skull, and incessantly ex- 
claiming, ' Ho, Kali ! ho, Durga ! ho, Devi ! ' 


As before, strange beings were holding their car- 
nival in the Jogi's presence. Monstrous Asuras, 
giant goblins, stood grimly gazing upon the scene 
with fixed eyes and motionless features. Rakshasas 
and messengers of Yama, fierce and hideous, assumed 
at pleasure the shapes of foul and ferocious beasts. 
Nagas and Bhutas, partly human and partly bestial, 
disported themselves in throngs about the upper air, 
and were dimly seen in the faint light of the dawn. 
Mighty Daityas, Bramha-daityas, and Pretas, the 
size of a man's thumb, or dried up like leaves, and 
Pisachas of terrible power guarded the place. There 
were enormous goats, vivified by the spirits of those 
who had slain Brahmans ; things with the bodies of 
men and the faces of horses, camels, and monkeys ; 
hideous worms containing the souls of those priests 
who had drunk spirituous liquors ; men with one leg 
and one ear, and mischievous blood-sucking demons, 
who in life had stolen church property. There were 
vultures, wretches that had violated the beds of their 
spiritual fathers, restless ghosts that had loved low- 
caste women, shades for whom funeral rites had not 
been performed, and who could not cross the dread 
Vaitarani stream, 1 and vital souls fresh from the 
horrors of Tamisra, or utter darkness, and the Usi- 
patra Vana, or the sword-leaved forest. Pale spirits, 
Alayas, Grumas, Baitals, and Yakshas, 2 beings of a 

1 The Hindu Styx. 

* From Yaksha, to eat ; as Rakshasas are from Eaksha to preserve. 
See Hardy's Manual of Buddhism, p. 57. 


base and vulgar order, glided over the ground, 
amongst corpses and skeletons animated by female 
fiends, Dakinis, Yoginis, Hakinis, and Shankinis, 
which were dancing in frightful revelry. The air 
was filled with supernatural sights and sounds, cries 
of owls and jackals, cats and crows, dogs, asses, and 
vultures, high above which rose the clashing of the 
bones with which the Jogi sat drumming upon the 
skull before him, and tending a huge cauldron of oil 
whose smoke was of blue fire. But as he raised his 
long lank arm, silver-white with ashes, the demons 
fled, and a momentary silence succeeded to their up- 
roar. The tigers ceased to roar and the elephants to 
scream ; the bears raised their snouts from their foul 
banquets, and the wolves dropped from their jaws the 
remnants of human flesh. And when they disappeared, 
the hooting of the owl, and ghastly ' ha ! ha ! * of 
the curlew, and the howling of the jackal died away 
in the far distance, leaving a silence still more op- 

As Kaja Vikram entered the burning-ground, the 
hollow sound of solitude alone met his ear. Sadly 
wailed the wet autumnal blast. The tall gaunt trees 
groaned aloud, and bowed and trembled like slaves 
bending before their masters. Huge purple clouds 
and patches and lines of glaring white mist coursed 
furiously across the black expanse of firmanent, dis- 
charging threads and chains and lozenges and balls 
of white and blue, purple and pink lightning, followed 


by the deafening crash and roll of thunder, the dread- 
ful roaring of the mighty wind, and the torrents of 
plashing rain. At times was heard in the distance 
the dull gurgling of the swollen river, interrupted by 
explosions, as slips of earth-bank fell headlong into 
the stream. But once more the Jogi raised his arm 
and all was still : nature lay breathless, as if awaiting 
the effect of his tremendous spells. 

The warrior king drew near the terrible man, un- 
strung his bundle from his back, untwisted the por- 
tion which he held, threw open the cloth, and exposed 
to Shanta ShiPs glittering eyes the corpse, which had 
now recovered its proper form that of a young child. 
Seeing it, the devotee was highly pleased, and thanked 
Vikram the Brave, extolling his courage and daring 
above any monarch that had yet lived. After which 
he repeated certain charms facing towards the south, 
awakened the dead body, and placed it in a sitting 
position. He then in its presence sacrificed to his 
goddess, the White One, 1 all that he had ready by 
his side betel leaf and flowers, sandal wood and 
unbroken rice, fruits, perfumes, and the flesh of man 
untouched by steel. Lastly, he half filled his skull 
with burning embers, blew upon them till they shot 
forth tongues of crimson light, serving as a lamp, 

1 Shiva is always painted white, no one knows why. His wife Grauri 
has also a European complexion. Hence it is generally said that the 
sect popularly called ' Thugs,' who were worshippers of these murderous 
gods, spared Englishmen, the latter being supposed to have some rap- 
port with their deities. 


and motioning the Eaja and his son to follow him, 
led the way to a little fane of the Destroying Deity, 
erected in a dark clump of wood, outside and close 
to the burning-ground. 

They passed through the quadrangular outer court 
of the temple whose piazza was hung with deep shade. 1 
In silence they circumambulated the small central 
shrine, and whenever Shanta Shil directed, Eaja 
Vikram entered the Sabha, or vestibule, and struck 
three times upon the gong, which gave forth a loud 
and warning sound. 

They then passed over the threshold, and looked 
into the gloomy inner depths. There stood Sma- 
shana-Kali, 2 the goddess, in her most horrid form. 
She was a naked and very black woman, with half- 
severed head, partly cut and partly painted, resting 
on her shoulder ; and her tongue lolled out from her 
wide yawning mouth ; 3 her eyes were red like those 
of a drunkard ; and her eyebrows were of the same 
colour : her thick coarse hair hung like a mantle to 
her heels. She was robed in an elephant's hide, dried 

1 The Hindu shrine is mostly a small building, with two inner com- 
partments, the vestibule and the Grarbagriha, or adytum, in which stands 
the image. 

2 Meaning Kali of the cemetery (Smashana) ; another form of 

3 Not being able to find victims, this pleasant deity, to satisfy her thirst 
for the curious juice, cut her own throat that the blood might spout up 
into her mouth. She once found herself dancing on her husband, and 
was so. shocked that in surprise she put out her tongue to a great length, 
and remained motionless, She is often represented in this form. 


and withered, confined at the waist with a belt com- 
posed of the hands of the giants whom she had slain 
in war : two dead bodies formed her earrings, and her 
necklace was of bleached skulls. Her four arms sup- 
ported a scimitar, a noose, a trident, and a ponder- 
ous mace. She stood with one leg on the breast of 
her husband, Shiva, and she rested the other on his 
thigh. Before the idol lay the utensils of worship, 
namely, dishes for the offerings, lamps, jugs, incense, 
copper cups, conchs and gongs ; and all of them smelt 
of blood. 

As Raja Yikram and his son stood gazing upon the 
hideous spectacle, the devotee stooped down to place 
his skull-lamp upon the ground, and drew from out 
his ochre-coloured cloth a sharp sword which he hid 
behind his back. 

' Prosperity to thine and thy son's for ever and 
ever, O mighty Yikram ! ' exclaimed Shanta Shil, 
after he had muttered a prayer before the image. 
( Yerily thou hast right royally redeemed thy pledge, 
and by the virtue of thy presence all my wishes shall 
presently be accomplished. Behold ! the Sun is 
about to drive his car over the eastern hills, and our 
task now ends. Do thou reverence before this my 
deity, worshipping the earth through thy nose, and so 
prostrating thyself that thy eight limbs may touch 
the ground. 1 Thus shall thy glory and splendour be 

1 This ashtanga, the most ceremonious of the fire forms of Hindu 
salutation, consists of prostrating and of making the eight parts of the 


great; the Eight Powers 1 and the Mne Treasures 
shall be thine, and prosperity shall ever remain under 
thy roof-tree.' 

Kaja Yikram, hearing these words, recalled sud- 
denly to mind all that the Vampire had whispered to 
him. He brought his joined hands open up to his 
forehead, caused his two thumbs to touch his brow 
several times, and replied with the greatest humility, 

6 O pious person ! I am a king ignorant of the way 
to do such obeisance. Thou art a spiritual preceptor : 
be pleased to teach me and I will do even as thou de- 

Then the Jogi, being a cunning man, fell into his 
own net. As he bent him down to salute the goddess, 
Vikram drawing his sword struck him upon the neck 
so violent a blow, that his head rolled from his body 
upon the ground. At the same moment Dharma 
Dhwaj, seizing his father's arm, pulled him out of 
the way in time to escape being crushed by the image, 
which fell with the sound of thunder upon the floor 
of the temple. 

A small thin voice in the upper air was heard to 
cry, 6 A man is justified in killing one who has the 
desire to kill him.' Then glad shouts of triumph 
and victory were heard in all directions. They pro- 
body namely, the temples, nose aiid chin, knees and hands touch the 

1 ' Sidhis,' the personified Powers of Nature. At least, so we explain 
them ; but people do not worship abstract powers. 



ceeded from the celestial choristers, the heavenly 
dancers, the mistresses of the gods, and the nymphs 
of Indra's Paradise, who left their beds of gold and 
precious stones, their seats glorious as the meridian 
sun, their canals of crystal water, their perfumed 
groves, and their gardens where the wind ever blows 
in softest breezes, to applaud the valour and good 
fortune of the warrior king. 

As he bent him down to salute the goddess. 

At last the brilliant god, Indra himself, with the 
thousand eyes, rising from the shade of the Parigat 
tree, the fragrance of whose flowers fills the heavens, 
appeared in his car drawn by yellow steeds and cleav- 
ing the thick vapours which surround the earth 


whilst his attendants sounded the heavenly drums 
and rained a shower of blossoms and perfumes bade 
the king Vikramajit the Brave ask a boon. 

The Eaja joined his hands and respectfully replied, 

6 mighty ruler of the lower firmament, let this 
my history become famous throughout the world ! ' 

' It is well,' rejoined the god. ' As long as the sun 
and moon endure, and the sky looks down upon the 
ground, so long shall this thy adventure be remem- 
bered over all the earth. Meanwhile rule thou man- 

Thus saying Indra retired to the delicious Amra- 
wati. 1 Yikram took up the corpses and threw them 
into the cauldron which Shanta Shil had been tend- 
ing. At once two heroes started into life, and 
Vikram said to them, ' When I call you, come ! ' 

With these mysterious words the king, followed 
by his son, returned to the palace unmolested. As 
the Vampire had predicted, everything was prosperous 
to him, and he presently obtained the remarkable 
titles, Sakaro, or foe of the Sakas, and Sakadhipati- 

And when, after a long and happy life spent in 
bringing the world under the shadow of one umbrella, 
and in ruling it free from care, the w T arrior king 
Vikram entered the gloomy realms of Yama, from 

1 The residence of Indra, king of heaven, built by Wishwa-Karma, 
the architect of the gods. 



whom for mortals there is no escape, he left behind 
him a name that endured amongst men like the 
odour of the flower whose memory remains long after 
its form has mingled with the dust. 1 

1 In other words, to the present day, whenever a Hindu novelist, 
romancer, or tele writer seeks a peg upon which to suspend the texture 
of his story, he invariably pitches upon the glorious, pious, and immor- 
tal memory of that Eastern King Arthur, Vikramaditya, shortly called